“Mimosas” producer Lamia Chraibi is on board to produce “Apatride,” the next film by Narjiss Nejjar, one of Morocco’s top directors, best known for her 2003 drama “Les yeux secs” (“Cry No More”) which premiered at Directors’ Fortnight.
An eminently political film, “Apatride” sheds light on the aftermath of a chapter of North African history which saw an estimated 45,000 families of Moroccan origins ruthlessly expelled from Algeria without prior notice in December 1975. The deportation led many families composed of Moroccan and Algerian citizens to be separated and forever broken.
“Apatride” follows the journey of a 35-year-old woman haunted by a childhood torn apart by this forced exile to Morocco. The protagonist was 12 when she fled to Morocco with her father, leaving her mother behind in Algeria. Stripped of her identity and roots, the girl grew up with one obsession: return to Algeria and find her mother. The quest continues to shape her life as a grown woman.
The film stars Aziz El Fadili, a popular TV personality, Avishay Benazra (“L’orchestre de minuit”) and Julie Gayet (“Quai d’Orsay”).
“Conceived as a fable, ‘Apatride is meant to resonate with contemporary conflicts in many parts of the world (from the Middle East to Western Asia); it shows the far-reaching psychological consequences of these tragedies on victims who often feel alienated,” said Chraibi, who was in Marrakech to present Oliver Laxe’s “Mimosas,” which won the Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize.
Chraibi also pointed out that “Apatride” portrays a strong, multilayered female protagonist as in Nejjar’s “Cry No More,” which addressed prostitution in Morocco through the tale of a former prostitute who emerges from a 25-year prison sentence and struggles to rebuild her life.
“Apatride” is set up as a Moroccan-French co-production as Chraibi is producing via her Paris-based company Moon & Deal and her Casablanca-based outfit La Prod. French distribution company Sophie Dulac is in negotiations to acquire French rights to the movie. Now in post, “Apatride” has received subsidies from Morocco, Doha Film Institute and will be presented at Dubai Film Connection next week.