The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.


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Director/Directrice, Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema | Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinéma

11 December 2020

Moroccan Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture

Moroccan Women in Cinema,
Visual Media and Screen Culture

"As a woman I feel that I am working for the rights of women. Perhaps it does not happen right away, but it is gives food for thought, a pause for reflection, that's what is the most important!" --Farida Benlyazid

Since the 1970s women have been increasingly visible in the myriad spheres of Moroccan cinema, visual media and screen culture: filmmakers, producers, festival organizers, film critics, researchers. Following are examples of the expansive experiences of Moroccan women of the moving image.

Farida Benlyazid, Farida Bourquia and Izza Genini, pioneers of Moroccan cinema who emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, set the groundwork for the generation of women who followed. Feminist, filmmaker, screenwriter, Farida Benlyazid entered the world of cinema in the 1970s, at the forefront of Arab feminist filmmaking, especially from a postcolonial perspective. She is both a role model and voice for the next generation. French-based documentary filmmaker Izza Genini a prolific cultural producer of the documentation of the musical and poetic heritage of Morocco views music as the source that maintains the links between generations. Since the 1980s Farida Bourquia has an impressive repertory of work in TV films and serials, including socio-cultural themes as well as documentary films about women.

Since its inception in 2004, the International Women's Film Festival of Salé, the sister city of Rabat, has been an important institution for the showcasing of women in front, on and behind the screen. Locally, on the continent, and internationally, it promotes the professionalization of women in cinema through workshopping, the organization of master classes and seminars. The roundtables and panels featuring scholarly presentations on issues of gender parity, the woman’s body in cinema and female representation add an important theoretical component to local knowledge production in Morocco.

Similarly, Nouzha Drissi created IFAD Doc'Souss in Agadir, Morocco, the first Festival dedicated exclusively to the documentary. It emerged from her desire to affirm a documentary culture among both professionals and the general public, as well create a platform for South-North collaboration. Her unexpected and tragic death in 2011 left a cinema culture on the continent, though in mourning, determined to continue her work.

Selma Bargach's intellectual and creative pursuit intersects the boundaries of social science inquiry, cinema and gender. In 1997 she defended her doctoral dissertation entitled, "Le statut et le rôle de la femme dans le cinéma marocain" (The status and role of women in Moroccan cinema) at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. She eventually settled for the artistic expression of filmmaking, directing has been much more fulfilling than her academic work: "it has allowed me to ask deeper questions while calling upon my imaginary through creative work".

Living and working in the diaspora in France and as an activist with the association RESF (Education Without Borders Network), it was important for Rahma Benhamou El Madani to take up her camera to document the lives of the people around her. Algerian-born of Moroccan parents, she tries to reconnect with her roots through her films. In addition, she founded the international Non-Aligned Collective of Women Cineastes.

Journalist Amina Barakat, an avid film critic is actively involved in Moroccan-based cultural events and numerous film festivals on the continent.

An expanding list of Moroccan women in cinema, visual media and screen culture, which is not exhaustive, includes:

Nora Azeroual, Selma Bargach, Violaine Maryam Blanche Bellet, Khiti-Amina Benhachem, Dounia Benjelloun, Farida Benlyazid, Meryem Benm'Barek, Touda Bouanani, Farida Bourquia, Hiba Chaari, Sofia El Khyari, Rahma Benhamou El Madani, Asmae El Moudir, Nouzha Drissi (1965-2011), Dalila Ennadre (1966-2020), Izza Genini, Tala Hadid, Aisha Jabour, Leïla Kilani, Fatima Matousse, Imane Mesbahi, Zineb Tamourt, Maryam Touzani, Malika Zairi

Articles on Moroccan Women in Cinema, Visual Media and Screen Culture from the African Women in Cinema Blog

Rétrospective et Masterclass Izza Genini - 39e édition du Festival International Jean Rouch en ligne du 24-29 novembre 2020

Dalila Ennadre - Nous venons de perdre l'une des nôtres | We have just lost one of our own (Communiqué : CNNA Cinéaste Non-Alignées Collectif)

Festival Films Femmes Afrique 2020 - Maryam Touzani : Adam

Festival Films Femmes Afrique 2020 - Sofia El Khyari: Ayam

Fatima Matousse: Family in Exile (Afrika Film Festival Köln 2019)

Livre/Book: Pratiques et usages du film en Afriques francophones: Maroc, Tchad, Togo, Tunisie (Practices and uses of films in Francophone Africa: Morocco, Chad, Togo, Tunisia) - eds. Claude Forest, Patricia Caillé

In/en conversation with/avec Selma Bargach (Morocco | Maroc)

FESPACO 2019 : Indigo by/de Selma Bargach (Morocco | Maroc)

FESPACO 2019: Au-delà de ce mur | Beyond this wall de/by Aisha Jabour (Morocco | Maroc)

Mis Me Binga 2018 – Zineb Tamourt : Riad de mes rêves | Riad of my dreams (Morocco | Maroc)

Mis Me Binga 2018 – Malika Zairi : Assia (Morocco | Maroc)

Sofia by/de Meryem Benm'Barek : Cannes 2018 - Un Certain Regard (Morocco)

Cannes 2018 : Sofia by/de Meryem Benm'Barek. Analysis /analyse : Falila Gbadamassi (Africiné)

Report | Compte-rendu: Festival International du Film de Femmes de Salé | International Women’s Film Festival of Salé - Edition 11, 2017 - Maroc | Morocco

Behind the Wall | Derrière le mur (2016) by/de Karima Zoubir (Morocco | Maroc)

FESPACO 2017: Hyménée by/de Violaine Maryam Blanche Bellet (Morocco | Maroc)

FESPACO 2017: Hiba Chaari - Behind the Imaginary | Derriere l’imaginaire - Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels de Marrakech (Morocco | Maroc)

LAFF 2015 – Asmae El Moudir : A Blessed Friday | Mémoires Anachroniques ou le couscous du vendredi

LAFF 2015 - Tala Hadid: Narrow Frame of Midnight | Itar el-Layl

LAFF 2015 - Nora Azeroual: Agmmu N Ugdal | The Forbidden Fruit | Fruit Interdit

Rahma Benhamou El Madani launches a crowdfunding campaign on Kisskissbankbank for the film “One Day in Marrakech”

FESPACO 2013 - Maryam Touzani : Quand ils dorment | When They’re Sleeping

Asmae El Moudir : « Le cinéma c’est mon rêve de petite fille »

Asmae el Moudir: Filmmaking has been my dream since childhood

Clôture de la 6ème édition du festival international du film de femmes de Salé

Rahma Benhamou El Madani : « Je tente de renouer avec mes racines à travers mes films. »

Rahma Benhamou El Madani: "I try to connect to my roots through my films"

Nouzha Drissi, le monde du cinéma marocain lui rend hommage

The world of Moroccan cinema pays tribute to Nouzha Drissi

A critique of Leïla Kilani’s film Sur la planche (On the Edge)

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