Banned Moroccan film 'Much Loved' in Italian cinemas 8/10

On 4 prostitutes; director Ayouch receiving death threats

17 September, 11:58


     RABAT - 'Much Loved', a film by the French-Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch, will be in Italian cinemas starting on October 8, distributed by Valerio De Paolis's Cinema. Applauded at the Cannes Film Festival's Quinzaine di Cannes, 'Much Loved' narrates the stories of four women - Noha, Randa, Soukaina and Hlima - who in modern-day Marrakech are friends and prostitutes. The four help each other out and talk about their daily lives, marked by violence and fleeting caresses, humiliations and tenderness. The director has called it an ''ode to the female condition''.

    The Islamist Moroccan communications minister has banned it as a preventative measure on the basis of parts of it posted online. Though it has never been seen in the country, it has nonetheless sparked a wave of indignation and death threats for the director and the actresses, who are now forced to have police escorts with them at all times. The authorities say that the film would profoundly offend the country's moral values and Moroccan women as well as the country's image. It is not clear whether it was the depiction of the lives of the four girls or the hypocrisy of their parents and friend who - as is often the case in reality - are willing to turn a blind eye to the way their daughters and sisters earn their living. The director added that ''in patriarchal Arab society, prostitutes have power and freedom that most women (within them, Ed.) don't have''. An almost anthropological approach and a year of research went into the film, which verges on being a documentary. France has sided with the director and called for solidarity with him. Ayouch, who has seven feature films to his name, has long dealt with controversial subjects such as drugs and corruption, Islamic terrorism and street children.

    However, this is the first time that one of his films - which have been praised internationally - has been banned in Moroccan cinemas. 

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