Moroccan filmmaker Abdeslam Kelaï makes his feature film directorial debut with the drama Malak – a film that reportedly was the talk of the town in Tangier, when it screened at the last edition of Morocco’s National Film Festival in February of this year, where it racked up major awards, including the Jury Prize, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress for its young star Chaimae Ben Acha.
The socially-relevant film tackles the plight of single mothers in a very traditional society, which has apparently become something of a phenomenon to be addressed in the country.
Malak tells the story of a teenage Moroccan girl who becomes pregnant and her attempts to find a solution to her situation, as one of society’s scrutinized and marginalized, given that it’s considered taboo.
Malak is also a tale of how help sometimes comes from the quarters you least expect – and not always from the people you think you can rely on. And how, the easiest thing to do is to turn one’s back and ignore a problem; the harder job is to act with humility and understanding. What the characters in this film also show is that humility and understanding don’t cost any money: those who have the least are often the ones most willing to give.
Director Abdeslam Kelai is said to have spent several years researching before making the film, which reviews call empathetic and sensitive, but at times harrowing, but one that is definitely worth watching to get real insight into Moroccan society today, and the complex position women within it find themselves.
Malak is a Mouton Rouge Films production. It’s currently playing in a few Moroccan cities like Tangiers, Casablanca, and Tétouan. No word on whether it’ll travel the international film festival circuit.
Here’s a teaser: