dune under the stars

All kinds of people had gathered in front Dunes of our compatriot Denis Villeneuve at the Jemaa el-Fna square on Wednesday evening. In this beating pulse of the ocher city, on a giant screen, the Marrakech Festival projects large-scale films in the evening. And onlookers in djellabas or leather jackets, walkers, women veiled or not follow the twists and turns of the story by getting closer to hear better. Because the music of gnaoui and tom-tom players from next door spice up the soundtrack. That would make Villeneuve laugh. Fauna moves, stops, admires, leaves. Dunes, it’s long, especially when standing. But the sandworm fascinates the public, and the fantastic universe of Frank Hebert finds an increased resonance in this open-air circus atmosphere.

Marrakech is multiple. His people too. And in the festival bubble, we hear about art that mixes with life here. Thus, Jim Jarmusch met in a large hall of the Palais des Congrès with young film lovers and journalists. With his eternal bleached bird’s head, the American always seems to emerge from the clouds. Alternately screenwriter, actor, writer, musician, the filmmaker of Down by Law and of ghost dog had realized in Tangier, in 2012, Only Lovers Left Alive, under the grace of enchanted vampires. He told us about having, after customs hassles, obtained the green light to shoot the film when the Moroccans asked him for its title, which they seemed to like: “Not bad. Not bad at all ! So come on, sir! A delightful anecdote.

From his disorientation in front of a foreign culture, Jarmusch makes his honey: “I try to get lost to find out if I can find my way back. In the eyes of this intuitive with antennae, there are a limited number of stories to tell, but unlimited ways to go about it. “Cinema is the closest we have to a dream. »

Evoking France, Jarmusch gets carried away. He evokes the discovery in his adolescence of the poetry of Rimbaud, Baudelaire, like Apollinaire, who knew how to create images with words. “I am a small fishing boat in the middle of the Atlantic,” adds the poet filmmaker. Life is short and there is so much to learn from diversity. There are 26,000 kinds of mushrooms on earth, you see. »

This festival is a strange sparrow. With its five-star jury to evaluate first and second feature films by beginners and its rain of stars attracting Paris Match and company like flies, we swim in full schizophrenia. I went to meet Rémi Bonhomme, the artistic director of the meeting. He was appointed in 2020, before the pandemic closed the doors of the festival for two years. Here he is really in the saddle.

Since 2018, this former member of Critics’ Week in Cannes, has been part of the Moroccan team, creating the Ateliers de l’Atlas for projects in development in the Arab, African and Middle Eastern world. “You know, this convergence between the celebrities present and emerging talents shines the spotlight on young filmmakers and allows for great encounters. We have also developed a section for young audiences. For the animated film Yuku and the Himalayan Flower by Arnaud Demuynck, children aged four to six who had never set foot in the cinema came out enchanted. We are also there to accompany the public of tomorrow. »

Six of the fourteen films in the run were directed by women. Rémi Bonhomme specifies that he chose them for their pure qualities. And that’s true. Nowhere have I seen such a fine selection of female feature films. Support policies for women directors are bearing fruit everywhere. Lightning, by the Swiss Carmen Jaquier, is a real gem, which I would dream of seeing distributed in Quebec. This story of a novice sent back to the village after the death of her sister in 1900 is inhabited by grace. On magnificent lighting, bewitching music, this hymn to feminine desire in bloom beyond the rigidity of ambient mores flies towards us with a purity that leaves us dazzled.

Because a festival is based on its best works. Its bubble also arouses links with journalists elsewhere. A Hungarian who works for his country’s only independent newspaper, which is run by far-right prime minister Victor Orban, sighed: “The state has control over everything. We will never get out of this! »

In contrast, a Brazilian applauded the new government of Lula da Silva. Enlightened minds and artists had groaned so much under Bolsonaro’s reign. So, in this festival tower of Babel, everyone searches for themselves and gets lost in the hope of finding their way back. Like Jarmusch, in short.

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dune under the stars