Scen.: F.: Ahmed El Maanouni. M.: Martine Chicot. Mus.: Nass el Ghiwane. Int.: gli abitanti di Toualàa (Oulad Ziane) nella regione di Casablanca, in particolare: Abdelwahad e la sua famiglia, Tobi, Afandi Redouane e Ben Brahim. Prod.: Rabii Films · DCP. Bn.
Alyam Alyam is a film about shattered dreams and the circumstances leading up to that point; about the shaking of the traditional social structure; about the strength born of desperation and the unrelenting dissipation of lost generations. This is stressed from the first notes of the opening music, by the strangely empty building frame that is slowly filled with people, by the village space, by the silence of the wandering woman who smokes, until the last shot of the film, when a crowd appears from behind a deserted hill. The dreams of a society growing smaller, unable to hold on to the resources that could help it survive, are mirrored by the mother’s helpless prayer, “I need your shadow, I need your light, I need your face”. I simply wanted to show the farmers’ faces, to honor their sounds and their images, their silences and their words, and that’s why I chose not to interfere and to opt for deliberately restrained composition, movement and mise-en-scène. I tried to minimize the camera’s ability to distort, make a point, or discriminate. I wanted each aspect to be presented equally. I did not look for spectacular beauty, but made an effort to let the imagery of the rural world speak through abstraction and silence. Almost 40 years later, when I watch Alyam Alyam again, I am still comfortable with my aesthetic choices and my intuitions, but I cannot avoid noticing how, from beginning to end – from the opening shots with the blood shed by the camels, to the crowd of peasants appearing from behind the hills – it all seemed to presage the current tragedy experienced by the thousands whose broken dreams lie at the bottom of the Mediterranean, on which the voice of Nass El Ghiwane’s Larbi Batma seems to strangely resonate: “Alyam Alyam, oh, those were the days! Why are you crossed? Who changed your course? You were once sweet like milk, now you’re bitter. I love all men as if they were my brothers. My brothers have crushed me. I will silence my pain and let my love be loud”.
Ahmed El Maanouni