A Minute of Sun Less

An original but overly ambitious detective yarn set in Tangiers, "A Minute of Sun Less" marks an odd career turn for Nabil Ayouch. Although the mystery takes interesting turns, Ayouch seems mostly keen on experimenting with camerawork, freeze frames, complex editing and offbeat characters. Unfortunately, none of this congeals into a strong film.

With:
Kamel Raoui - Noureddin Orahhou Touria - Lubna Azabal Pipo - Hicham Moussoune

An original but overly ambitious detective yarn set in Tangiers, “A Minute of Sun Less” marks an odd career turn for Nabil Ayouch, director of the critically acclaimed “Mektoub” and “Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Street.” Although the mystery takes interesting turns, Ayouch seems mostly keen on experimenting with camerawork, freeze frames, complex editing, offbeat characters and scripting that push local filmmaking limits. Unfortunately, none of this congeals into a strong film. Most notable element is thefrank approach to sexuality; two very explicit sex scenes have made it unscreenable in Morocco. Offshore, its very untypical, fish-nor-fowl look makes it a hard sell.

While investigating the murder of a lecherous drug lord, rugged young police inspector Kamel (Noureddin Orahhou) falls for the dead man’s beautiful g.f. Touria (Lubna Azabal, protag in Andre Techine’s “Loin”). She knows more than she’s telling, mainly to protect her lively but sick young brother Pipo (Hicham Moussoune). The pair end up living in Kamel’s apartment, despite being prime witnesses in the case.

Kamel soon exchanges his usual bedmate, a masculine-looking, kind-hearted belly dancer who’s had a sex change operation, for the willing Touria. Their love-making, which takes place while Pipo sleeps in the same room, intercuts full frontals with flash images representing Kamel’s memories and desires.

The film’s originality lies in presenting the female side of male sexuality without mincing images. The problem is integrating this into a deconstructed thriller. There is some nice location work as the trio heads south, but the mystifying ending seems to depend on Kamel having ESP.

Intense thesps Orahhou and Azabal generate a lot of chemistry, separately and together. Also well used is the strange, magnetic screen presence of young Moussoune, who was one of the boys in “Ali Zaoua.” Apart from Joel David’s flashy camerawork and the expensive-looking lab work, Djilali Aichoune and Amelie de Chassey ’60s-style thriller soundtrack is notable.

A Minute of Sun Less

Morocco-France

Production: An Arte France presentation of an Ali 'n Prods.(Morocco)/BC Films/GMT (France) co-production. Produced by Beatrice Caufman. Directed by Nabil Ayouch. Screenplay, Ayouch, Malika Al Houbach.

Crew: Camera (color, Cinemascope), Joel David; editor, Vanessa Zambernard; music, Djilali Aichoune, Amelie de Chassey; production designer, Itaf Benjellouane; costume designer, Aida Diouri; sound (Dolby SR), Ferdinand Bouchara. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Friends and Neighbors), Sept. 21, 2003. Running time: 102 MIN.

With: Kamel Raoui - Noureddin Orahhou Touria - Lubna Azabal Pipo - Hicham MoussouneWith: Noor, Mohamed Majd.

More Film

  • Predator Comic-Con panel

    'The Predator' Teases Battling Aliens at Gory Comic-Con Panel

    An original but overly ambitious detective yarn set in Tangiers, “A Minute of Sun Less” marks an odd career turn for Nabil Ayouch, director of the critically acclaimed “Mektoub” and “Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Street.” Although the mystery takes interesting turns, Ayouch seems mostly keen on experimenting with camerawork, freeze frames, complex editing, offbeat […]

  • Durban FilmMart, CaribbeanTales Push Co-Productions for

    Durban FilmMart, CaribbeanTales Push Co-Prod Opportunities for Women of Color

    An original but overly ambitious detective yarn set in Tangiers, “A Minute of Sun Less” marks an odd career turn for Nabil Ayouch, director of the critically acclaimed “Mektoub” and “Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Street.” Although the mystery takes interesting turns, Ayouch seems mostly keen on experimenting with camerawork, freeze frames, complex editing, offbeat […]

  • New Line Comic Con

    Everything We Saw From 'It 2' During New Line's Scare Diego Comic-Con Presentation

    An original but overly ambitious detective yarn set in Tangiers, “A Minute of Sun Less” marks an odd career turn for Nabil Ayouch, director of the critically acclaimed “Mektoub” and “Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Street.” Although the mystery takes interesting turns, Ayouch seems mostly keen on experimenting with camerawork, freeze frames, complex editing, offbeat […]

  • Lin Manuel MirandaVanity Fair Oscar Party,

    Lin-Manuel Miranda to Make Directorial Debut With 'Tick, Tick...Boom!'

    An original but overly ambitious detective yarn set in Tangiers, “A Minute of Sun Less” marks an odd career turn for Nabil Ayouch, director of the critically acclaimed “Mektoub” and “Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Street.” Although the mystery takes interesting turns, Ayouch seems mostly keen on experimenting with camerawork, freeze frames, complex editing, offbeat […]

  • Mark Duplass

    Mark Duplass Apologizes for 'Disaster' Tweet Praising Ben Shapiro

    An original but overly ambitious detective yarn set in Tangiers, “A Minute of Sun Less” marks an odd career turn for Nabil Ayouch, director of the critically acclaimed “Mektoub” and “Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Street.” Although the mystery takes interesting turns, Ayouch seems mostly keen on experimenting with camerawork, freeze frames, complex editing, offbeat […]

  • Enter The Dragon Bruce Lee

    How Bruce Lee's Star Rose in the U.S. After His Death

    An original but overly ambitious detective yarn set in Tangiers, “A Minute of Sun Less” marks an odd career turn for Nabil Ayouch, director of the critically acclaimed “Mektoub” and “Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Street.” Although the mystery takes interesting turns, Ayouch seems mostly keen on experimenting with camerawork, freeze frames, complex editing, offbeat […]

  • Second Act

    Jennifer Lopez Reinvents Her Life in 'Second Act' Trailer

    An original but overly ambitious detective yarn set in Tangiers, “A Minute of Sun Less” marks an odd career turn for Nabil Ayouch, director of the critically acclaimed “Mektoub” and “Ali Zaoua, Prince of the Street.” Although the mystery takes interesting turns, Ayouch seems mostly keen on experimenting with camerawork, freeze frames, complex editing, offbeat […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content