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December 16 (Saturday) 7 pm

An Evening with Steffen and Christian Pierce

Marrakech Inshallah

Directed by Steffen Pierce and Christian Pierce, Appearing in Person
US 2006, video, color, 90 min.
With Aziz Raddad, Hammadi Raddad, Fatima El Ghali
Arabic and Berber with English subtitles

A frequently used term in the Muslim world, Inshallah means "God
willing" in Arabic. The title refers to the central character Aziz (Raddad) and his hope that—God willing—he will realize his dream of leaving the confines of his mountain village for a better life in the city of Marrakech. Shot in Arabic and using local actors, this feature film by Boston directors Christian and Steffen Pierce was filmed in the Moroccan cities of Marrakech, Rich, and Essouaira over a period of three months. Initially inspired by the work of three Tangier writers (Paul Bowles, Mohammed Choukri and Mohammed Mrabet) the project evolved into a meditation on Moroccan society as well as a consideration of the filmmaking process itself. Filmed on Kodachrome reversal stock, this experimental narrative may be the last super 8 feature. Before making Marrakech Inshallah, the Pierce Brothers had worked on a documentary in Morocco, The Bride Market of Imilchil. When they returned to the U.S. they were informed that all individuals interviewed during the process of making the earlier film had been arrested and “reinterviewed” by the Moroccan authorities. This event led the filmmakers to consider the conflicts inherent in the documentary process: What are the obligations of documentary filmmakers to their subjects? How do poverty and cultural differences play into these relationships? These questions became part of the story of Marrakech Inshallah. Tunisian director Moufida Tlatli (The Silences of the Palace) noted, “You would expect a film on homeless children to be more pessimistic, but it is not. Aziz maintains a kind of innocence throughout. For an American to create this film gives me hope, the story walks a very fine line, never slipping into sentimentality.”

Harvard Film Archive • Carpenter Center • 24 Quincy Street • Cambridge MA 02138 • 617-495-4700