Bensaidi's heist movie reveals country's underworld
Faouzi Bensaidi’s neo-noir heist movie “Death for Sale” is Morocco’s entry for the foreign-language Academy Award.The pic is a classic example of the new crop of Moroccan genre films by young directors that reveal a hitherto unknown underbelly of Morocco’s cities. The story follows three petty criminals enmeshed in the world of pick-pocketing, drugs and prostitution in the Atlantic port of Tetouan, in northern Morocco, who plan to rob a jewelry store. A co-production between Morocco (Agora Film), France (Liaison Cinematographique) and Belgium (Entre Chien et Loup), pic was lensed by Belgian cinematographer Marc-Andre Batigne, with soundscape by New York musician Richard Horowitz. The $1.9 million budget included production support from Cannes’ Cinefondation and Abu Dhabi’s Sanad fund. “Death” world preemed at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, was the closing film at Marrakech and has garnered festival kudos at Berlin, Milan, Brussels and Tangiers.