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Interview: Meryem Benm'Barek - Sofia


Interview: Meryem Benm’Barek – Sofia | 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Interview: Meryem Benm’Barek – Sofia | 2018 Cannes Film Festival

By way of the young, unmarried Moroccan titular protagonist, Meryem Benm’Barek cuts her teeth with a piece that looks at the unwanted pregnancy under the guise of society’s hypocritical treatment of women’s body image, and class hypocrisy in the microcosm that is Casablanca. The micro, blunt and eye-catching first effort, Benm’barek left Cannes in high spirits as Sofia the Special Jury prize Best Screenplay in the Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section. I had the chance to sit with Benm’Barek to ask about what was the inspiration for the project, her working method with her actor set, and the role of Casablanca as a backdrop and how it aided in creating her cinematic language. Her is my interview in English and in French.

Amir Ganjavie, a Ph.D. in communication and culture, is a Toronto-based writer, cultural citric, festival director, community activist and filmmaker. Fascinated by the issue of alternative and utopian space in modern urban settings and cinema, Amir has published several articles on utopia and two books, one on utopia (Le rôle de la pensée utopique dans l’aménagement des villes de demain) and the other on walkable neighbourhoods (Pour une ville qui marche). He has recently co-edited two special volumes on Iranian cinema for film International and Asian Cinema and edited a Humanities of the Other: An essay collection on the Dardanne Brothers (in Persian). Aside from academia, he writes for MovieMaker, Filmint, Mubi, Senses of Cinema, Offscreen and Brightlight. Amir is very active in the community. He serves as the CEO of CineIran Festival and Phoenix Cultural Centre of Toronto. He is also the founding member of NaMaNa Cinema. He has recently directed/produced a long feature film in Canada, named Pendulum. His top 2 theatrical release for 2017: Ildikó Enyedi's On Body and Soul and Michel Hazanavicius's Redoubtable.

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