Co-writer/director Nabil Ayouch paints a mesmerizing portrait of a city and a meditation on desire and love in the kaleidoscopic drama Razzia. The film tells five different unrelated, but subtly interconnected stories about five Moroccans pushed to the fringes in Casablanca by the extremist government in place – contrasting the mythic romance of the classic 1941 film Casablanca with an honest and deeply humanistic portrait of contemporary Moroccans yearning for connection amidst political crisis.
After an opening set in 1982 which follows an idealistic teacher (Amine Ennaji) falling in love with a widow, Razzia cuts to present day. Among the modern-day characters are the fiercely independent Salima (co-writer Maryam Touzani), who refuses to conform to the accepted mold of a wife and mother; Monsieur Joe (Arieh Worthalter), a Jewish cafe owner caught struggling with his unexpressed desires; Ines (Dounia Binebine), a troubled bourgeois teen; and Hakim (Abdelilah Rachid), a young, Freddie Mercury-worshiping gay musician dealing with day-to-day homophobia.
Morocco’s official submission to the Academy Awards in 2018, Razzia has played at festivals all over the world and has earned great acclaim. Check out the trailer below and click here to order your copy. It’s out on DVD starting this week.