Kent Jones’ “Diane,” Eva Trobisch’s “All Good” and Lila Aviles’ “The Chambermaid” are among the 14 features competing at the revamped Marrakech Film Festival, which opened Friday and runs to Dec. 8.
“Diane,” which world premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and won three awards, stars Mary Kay Place (“The Big Chill”) as a mother desperately trying to bond with her son, who suffers from drug addiction. The movie was executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
“All Good,” Trobisch’s debut, revolves around a young woman who is raped but refuses to be a victim. The movie was a standout at Locarno, where it won the first-feature competition.
“The Chambermaid,” from Mexican theater actress-turned-helmer Aviles, premiered in Toronto’s Discovery section and won two awards at the Morelia Film Festival. The movie portrays Eve, a young chambermaid working at Mexico City’s classy Hotel Presidente Internacional. Trobisch and Aviles’ pics are among the six films directed by women selected to compete at Marrakech.
Other films in the competition include Tunisian helmer Nejib Belkhadhi’s “Look at Me” and Sudanese director Hajooj Kuka’s “Akasha.”
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“Look at Me,” which played at Toronto in the Contemporary World Cinema section, follows a man who is torn between the life he thought he could leave behind in Tunisia and the life he’s created for himself in Marseille. “Akasha” is a comedy about a love triangle between a boy, a girl and an AK-47 in Sudan. “Akasha” premiered at Venice and played at Toronto.
The competition is exclusively made up of first and second films from Europe, Latin America, Asia and the MENA region (Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia).
The festival kicked off with renowned artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate.” The film plays as part of the Gala Screenings roster, along with Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum” and A.B. Shawky’s “Yomeddine,” among other films, which have all been submitted for foreign-language Oscar consideration.
The Marrakech fest will also shine a spotlight on local cinema with Moroccan Panorama, which will include seven recent films, including Narjiss Nejjar’s “Stateless” and Hicham Lasri’s “Jahilya.”
Presided over by James Gray, the jury is composed of Dakota Johnson (“Suspiria”), Indian actress Ileana D’Cruz (“Barfi!”), Lebanese filmmaker and visual artist Joana Hadjithomas (“I Want to See”), Lynne Ramsay (“A Beautiful Day”), Moroccan director Tala Hadid (“House in the Fields”), Laurent Cantet (“The Class”), German actor Daniel Brühl and Mexican director Michel Franco (“April’s Daughter”).
The festival will pay tribute to Robert De Niro, Jillali Ferhati and Agnès Varda.