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Interview Faouzi Bensaidi Deserts Cannes

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Interview: Faouzi Bensaïdi – Déserts

Interview: Faouzi Bensaïdi – Déserts

The very first image we find in Déserts informs the viewer that we need directions and that its the elements that have a stronger grip on the outcome. It’s the perfect allegory for a narrative strategy that fractures conventional narrative blueprints and we could coin Moroccan filmmaker Faouzi Bensaïdi‘s latest film as a modern take on the Western, a revenge film, a buddy comedy with deadpan humor. Working with a text that jabs at capitalism and corruption, we find a subversive, jarring and refreshing text here. It’s a world of payback and pay me back for Casablanca debt collection agents Mehdi and Hamid in a vast land.

A 2023 Quinzaine des cinéastes / Directors’ Fortnight section selection, I sat down with Faouzi on the Croisette for a fest edition that was rich in offerings of national Moroccan cinema (included in almost all sections). We spoke about the choice to break away from a tradition narrative, the DNA of the characters of Mehdi and Hamid and where the filmmaker is in his filmography .

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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