Zanka Contact, tribute to rock and western

As part of the 27th Tetouan Mediterranean Film Festival, festival-goers had the opportunity to discover, on Sunday, the feature film “Zanka contact” by director Ismael El Iraki.

The 120-minute film tells the story of an outdated rocker who has lost his voice and returns to his hometown of Casablanca, where he meets an explosive young woman, a vocal street amazon. Golden. The two protagonists roam the nights of the city and fall madly in love. But their passion is quickly overtaken by their past and the wild couple take the road to the desert to escape their demons.

A Franco-Moroccan-Belgian co-production, the film brings together Khansa Batma, Ahmed Hammoud, Said Bey, Fatima Atef, Abdel Rahman Mbiha and Mourad Zaoui. It also won the prize for best feature film at the Luxor African Film Festival in Egypt. Khansa Batma, who stars as Rajae in the film, was crowned Best Actress in the Horizons category at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

For the director, “Zanka Contact is not a film but a wild fire”. “The desire for this film consumed me like a flame, devouring everything in its path. Everything I love: 1970s Moroccan rock bands and Italian westerns, silver skull rings and powerful female characters; the dream of live music on 35mm cinemascope and the street poetry of Casablanca slang,” he explains. “The fire fed on everything that I also fear, mixing everything into a fiery cocktail stirred by a crazy fiction. For me, emotion is the only reality,” he adds.

“As an African filmmaker, I want to claim my right to fiction, to the imagination, to a territory rarely occupied by films from my region”, specifies Ismael El Iraki. “Cinema is not the subject; it’s not even about the story. It’s a spell we fall under: it’s a belief in magic. This is, for me, the political dimension of Zanka Contact: claiming a share in this shared dream, not for its subject but for its witchcraft”, he concludes.

As for the official competition, festival-goers were able to see the feature film “Kerr”, by Turkish director Tayfun Pirselimoglu, which features Can, the only witness to a murder in the station of an unknown city where he to go to his father’s funeral. The murderer, not showing any interest in Can’s presence, leaves the scene calmly. The police do not allow Can to leave after taking his testimony. Afterwards, strange things happen. A quarantine is declared due to rabid stray dogs. The whole city turns into purgatory.

Still within the framework of the activities of the 27th edition of the FCMT, a symposium was organized on Sunday under the theme “Cinema in the digital age Medium, art and critical discourse” and with the participation of the Spanish filmmaker Neus Ballus , the Italian critic Occitane Lacurie and the Moroccan critics Mohamed Bakrim and Said Mezouari, as well as the Moroccan academic Krimo Chiguer as coordinator. This meeting aimed to think about today’s cinema, in the digital age, while recalling the issues that preceded this new era, those linked to the disappearance of cinemas and traditional conditions of projection, and especially of reception. critical.

A second symposium, around the theme: “Cinematographic heritage in the digital age between memory and oblivion”, will take place today and will know the participation of the French director Léa Morin, the Moroccan director Narjiss Nejjar, the Palestinian researcher Khadijeh Al-Habesheh, the former director of the Toulouse cinematheque, the Frenchman Franck Loiret, the Tunisian director Mohamed Challouf and the Lebanese film researcher Naja Al Achkar, as well as the Moroccan researcher Ahmed Mjidou as coordinator.

The participants in this symposium will question the future of cinematographic heritage and the challenges of its preservation, restoration and archiving. This symposium starts from the work programs presented by certain media libraries in a certain number of international experiences, and will lead, in parallel, a reflection on the contemporary forms of cinematographic archiving, which can take advantage of the possibilities offered by digital technology.

Mehdi Ouassat

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Zanka Contact, tribute to rock and western

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