Mar­rakech Film Fes­ti­val kicks off on a more serene note

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Fol­low­ing last year's emo­tion­ally-charged edi­tion which took place shortly af­ter the Paris at­tacks, Mar­rakech Film Fes­ti­val opened on a more serene note on Fri­day, with an in­tro­duc­tion by Hun­gar­ian Mas­ter Bela Tarr who serves as the 16th edi­tion jury pres­i­dent. Tarr, a rad­i­cal film­maker best known for "The Man From Lon­don" and "The Turin Horse," made a heart-warm­ing, pol­i­tics-free speech cel­e­brat­ing the hu­man­is­tic virtues of cinema.

"We all are here be­cause we all be­lieve of the power of the mo­tion pic­ture, we all be­lieve in hu­man be­ings, in hu­man dig­nity and dig­nity of all kinds of life and I hope we'll see beau­ti­ful movies. Cross your fin­gers for the fu­ture," said Tarr, stir­ring strong ap­plauses. The cer­e­mony was fol­lowed by the Moroc­can pre­miere of Kim Jee-woon's "The Age Of Shad­ows" and a lav­ish party hosted by the Prince Moulay Rachid.

Tarr is pre­sid­ing over a multi­na­tional jury com­posed Ital­ian actress Jas­mine Trinca, Moroc­can actress Fa­tima Har­randi, In­dian-French actress Kalki Koech­lin, French di­rec­tor Bruno Du­mont, Cana­dian actress Suzanne Cle­ment, Amer­i­can ac­tor Ja­son Clarke, Swedish di­rec­tor Bil­lie Au­gust and Ar­gen­tine di­rec­tor Lisan­dro Alonso. Hailed as one of Arab world's most sig­nif­i­cant cul­tural event, Mar­rakech gath­ered sev­eral stars, in­clud­ing Ja­panese di­rec­tor Tsukamoto Shinya, French actress Elsa Zil­ber­stein, Egyp­tian star Yousra, Jee-Woon, Moroc­can TV host and actress Leila Ha­dioui, Omar Lotfi.

Mar­rakech is also ex­pected to wel­come "Elle" di­rec­tor Paul Ver­ho­even, French star Is­abelle Ad­jani, Ja­panese di­rec­tor Shinya Tsukamoto and Moroc­can ac­tor Ab­der­rahim Tounsi, who will re­ceive ca­reer trib­utes. Other guests of honor set to at­tend are Amer­i­can helmer Paul Hag­gis and Russian di­rec­tor Pavel Loun­guine who will give mas­ter­classes, along with Ver­ho­even. Loun­guine is among the many Russian film­mak­ers and in­dus­try fig­ures who will be feted at Mar­rakech as part of this year's fo­cus on Russian cinema.

Ira­nian mas­ter Ab­bas Kiarostami, who passed this year, will also be re­mem­bered at the fes­ti­val. Although this is year's fest is low on Hol­ly­wood star pres­ence, the fes­ti­val man­aged to draw a US del­e­ga­tion of in­dus­try play­ers, in­clud­ing Gary French, se­nior VP of pro­duc­tion at Touch­stone Tele­vi­sion Pro­duc­tions, and Gary Good­man, ex­ec­u­tive VP of pro­duc­tions at Lion­s­gate. The pres­ence of US ex­ecs at the fes­ti­val is part of the Moroc­can gov­ern­ment's push to con­tinue at­tract­ing for­eign pro­duc­tions in Morocco in spite of the geo-politi­cal con­text.

Last year's fes­ti­val, which took place less than a months af­ter the at­tacks, wel­comed Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola and Bill Mur­ray, along with a flurry of high-pro­file film fig­ures. In re­cent years, the fest drew Martin Scors­ese, James Gray, Mads Mikkelsen, Sharon Stone and Mar­ion Cotil­lard, among oth­ers. Chaired by Morocco's King Mohamed VI and the Prince Moulay Rachid the fes­ti­val will present two Moroc­can films: "Ma­jid" and "My Un­cle," both of which are di­rected by upand-com­ing di­rec­tor Nas­sim Abassi. Five fea­ture de­buts will play in com­pe­ti­tion: "The Donor," "The Fits," "Knife in the Clear Wa­ter," "Heart­stone" and "Part­ing," which will rep­re­sent Afghanistan in the for­eign-lan­guage Os­car race.—

Jury mem­bers (from left) Kalki Koech­lin, Suzanne Cle­ment, jury pres­i­dent Bela Tarr, Fa­tima Harandi ‘Raouia’ at­tend the 16th Mar­rakech In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val Open­ing Cer­e­mony in Mar­rakech. The fes­ti­val runs from Dec. 2-10.

Leila Ha­dioui at­tends the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 16th Mar­rakech In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in Mar­rakesh yes­ter­day.

Rachid M’Barki and his wife Mar­i­anne Soubret

Saida Jawad

Laeti­tia Bleger

Di­rec­tor Kim Jee-woon — AFP pho­tos

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