2018, Sun, Jan 21

Hadda

D: Mohamed Abouelouakar, Morocco, 1984, 107 min, Arabic OV with English subtitles

Filmstill from Hadda (Mohamed Aboulouakar)

Filmstill from Hadda (Mohamed Aboulouakar)

After Hadda, a young woman in a poor, arid village in the Moroccan countryside, is raped by Hamid, a young landowner who has returned to the village to reclaim his inheritance, she is forced to leave and fend for herself in the desert. While the victimization of women was a prevalent theme in Moroccan cinema at the time, director (and painter) Abouelouakar’s style was so singular—his visual treatment so stunning and emotionally charged, with sparse dialogue laced with poetry—that Hadda stands apart as a cinematic landmark.

Mohamed Abouelouakar trained as a filmmaker at VGIK from 1966 until 1971. He graduated with his diploma film The Killers (al-Qatiluun). In 1977 he directed The City of Memory (Madinat al-Thikrah), a documentary about his native city Marrakesh, but as his filmmaking style was not appreciated in Morocco he returned to Moscow between 1978 and 1981. His only narrative feature-length fiction, Hadda (1984), received wide critical acclaim. Since then Abouelouakar has not been able to find financial support in Morocco to direct any other film, and has had a successful career as an artist working in photography and painting. He lives between Casablanca and Elektrostal, an industrial suburb of Moscow.