Moroccan director-screenwriter Maryam Touzani’s second feature film is a gentle piece of Arabic-language storytelling. A sensual melodrama by three skilled actors, in which duty and desire collide amid the shady alleyways of the old medina.
Halim (Saleh Bakri) is a masterful tailor. He works with dedication and care in his traditional shop with his wife Mina (Lubna Azabal). The couple’s togetherness runs deep, but it is soon revealed that they live in the shadow of Halimi’s hidden sexuality – something Mina has come to accept, but that still causes feelings of jealousy. When new apprentice Youssef (Ayoub Missioui) arrives, Mina must confront these feelings again.
The camera continually caresses delicately woven fabrics. This precious, time-consuming craft is almost comparable to Touzani’s narrative. It focuses on small details, fleeting glances, an almost imperceptible touch. At times, The Blue Caftan is an experience tinged with colours and sounds that leads the viewer softly, instead of propelling them along a predictable journey. (MM)
Director, screenwriter, actress Maryan Touzani (b.1980 in Tangier) studied journalism in London in the early 2000s. After returning to her home country, her work as a journalist focused on the cinema of Maghreb. This soon inspired her first screenplay and two short films: When They Sleep (2012) and Aya Goes to the Beach (2015). These early short films were followed by a collaboration with spouse Nabil Ayouch; co-written prostitution story Much Loved (2015) and a role in the film Razzie (2017). In 2019, Touzani directed her successful first feature film Adam, a story of a baker whose life changes after an unexpected encounter. Like The Blue Caftan, the debut was selected as the country’s Oscar entry.