Morocco is certainly changing. It is hard to imagine this country letting a filmmaker denounce the hardship street children endure just a few years ago. But the question is does he really denounce it? One early scene announces the colour of the film to come. A television reporter asks a child why he has left home. He answers that he fled because his mother was about to sell a stranger his eyes. The filmmaker then asks the cameraman to zoom in on him before saying: « That’s fine, cut ». The zoom is far from being neutral. With his highly fictitious characters, Ayouch rejects sociology to play the poetry card. Indeed, his aim is quite simply to affirm that all life is valuable and that everyone has the right to be happy. The postulate is irreproachable, and that is precisely the problem with this contradiction-free film in which every character, every situation goes to show « that an angel can’t really die ». The children’s reality is harsh? Yes, but their suffering only seems to interest the director insofar as it allows him to make a film. West Side Story-style gang scenes and James Dean-like confrontations punctuate a film in which the street children articulate adult images in perfectly implausible dialogues. The attempts at poetry do not work because the music suddenly becomes terribly violinish, the camera zooms in on the characters or revolves slowly round them, the image composed in symmetry and perspectives, the dialogues become sententious and because everything combines to make a sauce that is designed to move you. This highly constructed project goes well beyond the reality of the children and thwarts the ties that could have been made with them. What if the right distance with them was precisely – as Buñuel and the neorealists demonstrated, as well as Cheick Oumar Sissoko in Nyamanton to try to capture what they are?
2000, 1h30, with Saïd Tagmaoui, Mounïm Kbab, Mustapha Hansali. Prod. : Playtime. Distr. TF1 internat. (00 33 1 41 41 15 04).///Article N° : 5496