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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20 October 2015

Djia Mambu : A best actress award for Much Loved | Un prix d'interprétation féminine pour Much Loved – Analysis | Analyse

A best actress award for Much Loved | Un prix d'interprétation féminine pour Much Loved – Analysis | Analyse by | par Djia Mambu.

Translation from French by Beti Ellerson

[English] Français ci-après

Loubna Abidar obtained the Bayard d'Or for Best Actress at the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur for her role in Much Loved by Nabil Ayouch. An unhoped-for reward in her country Morocco, where the film still cannot be seen because of censorship.

Released in theatres in France and soon in Belgium, the controversial Much Loved by Nabil Ayouch has given rise to a number of polemics since it was first presented at Cannes in May; especially by those who have yet to see it. And for good reason, as it portrays the daily life of prostitutes in Marrakech, displaying the Red City as a place of international prostitution. Ever since excerpts have circulated on the Internet (which have even been edited), which angered the country's authorities, the film has been censored. "This is the first time that a film has been banned without ever being seen, on the basis of a telephone call," said Nour-Eddine Saïl, who was the head of the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre for ten years. "Normally, the ban should be signed by the director of the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre or his representative. This is an illegal censorship," he stated during a forum at the Khouribga Festival. Did not an American film with much more explicit content and prohibited for viewers under the age of 16 reach 140,000 admissions in Morocco? "A country known for censorship always loses." he concludes.

How can a country like Morocco, at the forefront of the film industry in Africa, run the risk of being accused of censorship when it puts so much energy in having a reputation as a country of rights and progress?

When considering the African films that have circulated in festivals this year, where the main character is a black woman, one observes that she is often a prostitute. In Morbayassa, le serment de Koumba by Cheick Fantamady Camara (Guinea), Bella (Fatoumata Diawara) while in France tries to find the daughter she abandoned. The Price of Love by Hermon Hailay (Ethiopia) follows a young woman who tries to escape the clutches of her pimp in order to live her blooming romance. W.A.K.A. by Françoise Ellong (Cameroon) shows a mother’s struggle to feed her child, and then, Salla (Maïdou Prudence) is the head of a gang of street girls in Dakar Trottoirs by Hubert Laba Ndao (Senegal).

All received awards in African film festivals, including North African. One recalls the award for best actress to Prudence Maïdou in Khouribga in 2014. Could one imagine such a reward to Loubna Abidar of Much Loved in Morocco?

Although all are very good, dealing with a subject of contemporary reality, all of these films depict the heroine as a woman of the street. Hence this is the impression that is presented of the African women, in addition to the roles where she exists only because she is the wife, daughter, mother or sister. Or else as the opposite character of the subservient: a bourgeois woman, often cold and reserved, living in the most exclusive areas of the city, as the lawyer played by Maïmouna Ndiaye in L'œil du cyclone by Sekou Traoré (Burkina Faso).

Between the impactful stories and those on the extreme opposite, one question remains: where are the millions of stories of these billions of women that exist between these two caricatures?


Lubna Abidar décroche le Bayard d'Or de la Meilleure comédienne au Festival international du film francophone de Namur pour son rôle dans Much Loved de Nabil Ayouch. Une récompense inespérée dans son pays le Maroc où le film n'est toujours pas près de voir le jour pour cause de censure.

En salles en France et bientôt en Belgique, le controversé Much Loved de Nabil Ayouch a suscité une polémique depuis sa première présentation au Festival de Cannes en mai dernier, surtout chez ceux qui ne l'ont pas encore vu. Et pour cause, il dépeint le quotidien des prostituées de Marrakech en exposant la ville rouge comme un lieu de prostitution internationale. Depuis que des extraits ont circulé sur le net (qui ont même fait l'objet d'un montage), cela a fâché les autorités du pays qui ont décidé de le censurer. "C'est bien la première fois qu'un film est interdit sans avoir été vu, sur la base d'un simple coup de téléphone", a commenté Nour-Eddine Saïl, qui fut à la tête du Centre cinématographique marocain pendant une dizaine d'années. "Normalement, l'interdiction doit être signée par le directeur du Centre de la Cinématographie du Maroc ou par son délégué. C'est une censure illégale", a-t-il déclaré lors d'un forum au festival de Khouribga. Un film américain au contenu bien plus explicite et interdit au moins de 16 ans n'avait-il pas fait 140.000 entrées au Maroc ? "Un pays perd toujours à être réputé comme un pays de censure", conclut-il.  Lire la suite à Africultures:


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