“High and strong”, by Nabil Ayouch, in official competition in Cannes

The film “Haut et fort” by Nabil Ayouch is the first feature film in the history of Moroccan cinema to be selected to compete for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 74th Cannes Film Festival.

Pleasantly surprised by the news, the modest filmmaker expected to be selected in the “Directors’ Fortnight” or “Un certain regard” categories. But reaching the official selection, he did not believe much. It is done !

Nabil Ayouch, son of a French Jewish mother of Tunisian origin and a Moroccan Muslim father, he spent part of his childhood in Sarcelles where he regularly attended the Forum des Cholettes. After 2012, he became involved in the suburbs of Casablanca to develop a cultural center there on the model of that of his childhood. He also invested in learning to speak the Arabic language by reconnecting with his roots.

Since then, a lot of ground has been covered and films made. And from a filmmaker hated for his film “Much loved” to a “hero” raised to the skies for this nomination. Proud himself, he regrets that the film “Much loved” was misunderstood, specifying that he had never wanted to harm his country. A country for which he has always had “a deep love as well as for the Moroccan people”.

Being in the official selection is a victory in itself

The Franco-Moroccan director returned to the theme of this partly biographical film. This is the story of a former rapper who arrives in a cultural center in Sidi Moumen, a popular district of Casablanca, and finds a group of idle young girls and boys to whom he will transmit his passion for hip-hop. Encouraged by their new teacher, the young people breaking social ties will try to free themselves from the weight of traditions to live their passion and express themselves through hip hop culture…. The central theme of the film being transmission as a value and as a Steps.

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“Loud and strong” is the 7e fictional feature film which brings together non-professionals in the cast only. Revealed at the Berlinale Forum in 1999 with ” Mektoub », Nabil Ayouch is a recognized artist. He won multiple awards in international festivals, in 2000-2001 with Ali Zaoua, prince of the street, a film on the quest for identity. The filmmaker is then selected twice in Cannes, with God’s horses at Un Certain Regard in 2012, and, Much Loved at the Directors’ Fortnight in 2015. The two titles were then nominated for the Lumières prize for best French-language film. His latest opus, Raid was unveiled in Toronto, in the Platform competition. The selection of “High and strong” represents for Nabil Ayouch, already in itself, “the most beautiful of victories”.

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