2008, Fri, Oct 03

Double-Projections: Casablanca

Visual commentaries will accompany the screening of Casablanca.


Remember Resistance examines the background to the famous cinema classic and takes a closer look at the location – Casablanca – as a ‘migration’ junction’ during the Fascist period and as a projection screen for a wide range of fantasies up to the present.

Humphrey Bogart plays the part of Rick, a petty-criminal café owner who migrates from the USA to Morocco, fights for the Republic during the Spanish Civil War and becomes an anti-colonial arms-dealer for Ethiopia during the war against Italy.

Casablanca was located historically in the North Moroccan port of Tangiers. It served as a transit zone between (Nazi-) Europe, the then unoccupied parts of Portugal, and the USA, which was a refuge for European emigrants. Following the success of the Hollywood remake Algiers, Warner Brothers’ advertising strategists found the title Casablanca more appealing than Tangier.

The clapperboard of this state-controlled war production bears the words Casa Blanca (White House), thus associating the light-coloured house facades in North Africa with the seat of the US government in Washington. In the end, the film was made in the Warner Brothers’ studio in Los Angeles – apart from a few outdoor shots taken at an air base. The town of Casablanca, which served as a model for the set, received its present name Dar-el-Beida after decolonisation. Casablanca is, therefore, a projection in more ways than one, serving as a reminder that the Second World War was fought out in the colonised world, too.