Country: Morocco
Original Title: Ali Zaoua, prince de la rue
Director: Nabil Ayouch
Release: 2000

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World Cup Historic

The Morocco Nation Team joined FIFA in 1956 and made their debut the following year, in a 3-3 draw against Iraq.

The 1970 edition was the first World Cup for the Moroccan team, while the 2018 edition will be their fifth. The best result was in 1986 reaching the Round of 16, losing to West Germany.

They also played in 1994 and 1998 but were eliminated in the group stage.

Photo by mustapha ennaimi

The captain and the most notorious player is Medhi Benatia. The Juventus defender born in France play for the Moroccan team since 2008, playing 54 caps.

It is very unlikely that Morocco will classify in a group with two giants like Portugal and Spain, but is nice to see how they will play in the one of the last competitive World Cups.

Ali Zaoua

The director Nabil Ayouch was born in France to a Moroccan father and Tunisian mother, made his career working in Morocco. Ali Zaoua is is his second full-length film and it is great.

Ali Zaoua

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Ali Zaoua (Abdelhak Zhayra)

The movie tells the story of four boys living in the streets of Casablanca. They get out of a gang led by Dib, a grown up surrounded by his gang of children. Confronted by the gang, one of the four boys die.

The story itself is around these three remaining boys trying to give a proper burial to their dead friend.

Today, Saïd Taghmaoui is the better-known name in this movie. Very recently, he was in the role of Sameer in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017). He is a solid actor and I liked his character in Wonder Woman.

Saïd Taghmaoui as Dib and his minions
Saïd Taghmaoui as Dib and his minions

In Ali Zaoua, Dib is a deaf leader of a gang of children, some of them he sexually abuses. When some child doesn’t comply with him, he punishes the kid. He is a despicable piece of shit, there is no way to like a character like that.

The other characters are mostly children and they do a great job especially if you consider this fact. Unfortunately, Ali Zaoua is the only title in their name and I could not find any other information about those kids.

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The boys eating sardine

Each one of the three boys has a different personality and an arc, both individual and as a group.

We don’t know why these kids are in the streets, happened in their lives that led them there, but it actually doesn’t matter. What really matters is that they’re there and have to deal with issues that most kids don’t.

They still play, have childish fantasies, the older ones still discovering romantic feelings, still trying to find their own goals in life and etcetera, things that children go through, but at the same time, they have to earn their own living and other things that kids should not go through.

Kwita (Mounïm Kbab) and a puppy
Kwita (Mounïm Kbab) and a puppy

The appearance of the movie is not the best, and it is due to some reasons. One being, the movie is portraying extreme poor parts of the city, abandoned buildings and so on. Another reason is that it is quite dated, in the same way as Whisky (2004).

Even with this not amazing quality of the image, we have good shots of the city and shots of the environment where these kids live in, making a good portrait of the overall situation.

We have here a beautiful, touching movie, with great acting from kids, and very few flaws, making it a 9/10 Moons.

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