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- Words Notion Staff
Find out more about Curzon Film's anticipated new release, Casablanca Beats.
It’s a busy season indeed for cinema, with summer blockbuster season coming back in full swing after the disruption of the last couple of years. Yet even as the biggest tentpoles re-establish control of our screens, independent cinema continues to go strong.
On 29th April, Curzon Film’s latest offering, the empowering Moroccan hip-hop drama Casablanca Beats, is set to keep that good record going. Directed by Nabil Ayouch (Horses of God, Much Loved), the film was part of the Official Selection at the 2021 edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
The story follows Anas (Anas Basbousi), a former rapper, who takes a placement in a cultural centre in Casablanca where he starts to teach hip-hop to a group of young people. Encouraging them to open their minds and speak their truths, his students are given free rein to discuss topics of religion, politics and sexuality. In the process, they throw off the weight of tradition and begin to express themselves sincerely and authentically through their art.
Discussing the starting point for his film, Ayouch states that it was fuelled by “The desire to make a film to give voice to young people. This desire is very much connected to my own story. Firstly, when I was in my teens in the 80s, I learned to look at and think about the world at the community youth club in Sarcelles where I grew up. Through arts and culture, I learned how to talk about myself and to like who I was. In my journey and that of many of my friends at the time, these places were crucial. We were trusted, we were given the words, the gestures, the space and above all the freedom to talk about ourselves and listen to others.”
Now, Ayouch aims to give that same empowerment to a contemporary audience by putting his childhood experiences into a vibrant musical story.