Friday, March 21, 2014

The film "Traitors": women, punk, Morocco

Traitors (dir. Sean Gullette) has been on the festival circuit for a couple years. It looks, based on the reviews and the available trailers, to be a good one. I was alerted to it by Joobin Bekhrad's review in REORIENT, which also features one of the trailers. The latter features the lead, Malika, and her all-female Moroccan punk band doing a version of The Clash's "I'm So Bored with the USA," in Arabic, but with the chorus, "I'm so bored with Mo-ro-cco" sung in English.

Among other things, Bekhrad writes, "Gullette’s film appears to be one centred around the power and allure of rock music, particularly in a North African context; however, as it progresses, it also comes to provide a powerful social commentary on the current generation of Morocco’s youth and their hopes, aspirations, frustrations, dilemmas, and anxieties, evoking at times a mood similar to that prevalent in earlier films such as Fatih Akin’s Head On..." If it's anything like Head On I it should be worth watching. We can only hope.

(I liked Bekhrad's review but it was marred by a move that everyone writing in English about Middle Eastern pop music seems to make, which is "clever" puns. A couple examples: "stuck between Maroc and a hard place" and "Maroc and roll, baby." Er, enough.)

Here's another clip from the film:

And some more info:

"Features original songs sung by its riveting star Chaimae Ben Acha [who plays Malika, the leader of a Tangier punk band], and new music from much-hyped all-female bands Savages and Talk Normal." (I've not been able to find any of their music, however.)

Here's an interview with the director, published in Variety. Where we learn, among other things, that the film was funded with a grant from the Sharjah Art Foundation.

And, a review in The Hollywood Reporter, quite positive.


Anonymous said...

The main theme song of the movie "The Battle and the sea" was interpreted by Kesang Marstrand. a singer songwriter based in New York who was able to sing it in Moroccan dialect. Marstrand is originally from Woodstock, New York and she moved back to the city recently after 4 years spent in Africa. Marstrand's songwriting style suggests an updated variation on classic era singer/songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro,

Anonymous said...

TRAITORS - Bande Annonce MAROC [2:19]

Ted Swedenburg said...

Thanks, 'Anonymous'!