Qabla Zahf el-Zhalam [Before the Dying of the Light]

  • 31.8.2022 Wednesday 7 pm

Babylon, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 30, 10178 Berlin

Free admission

Directed by Ali Essafi (MA, FR), 2020, 70′′, Arabic and French with English subtitles

Weaving a collage of rare posters, magazine covers, archival footage, and graphic novels, Before the Dying of the Light harkens back to the artistic scene of the 1970s in Morocco, giving voice to anti-establishment and rebellious artists and protagonists. Culling footage from a Moroccan independent experimental film censored in 1974, About Some Meaningless Events by Mostafa Derkaoui, where a group of young filmmakers explored the role that new Moroccan cinema should play in society, Essafi’s film revives the counterculture of resistance that arose from Marxist student movements which saw cinema as a means of politicizing the general public. Dedicated to the victims of censorship and oppression, Before the Dying of the Light evokes a time of defiance and solidarity during the notorious “years of lead” under the monarch Hassan II.

Ali Essafi studied psychology in France. His directorial debut titled Général, nous voilà! [General, Here We Come!, 1997], a documentary about Moroccan veterans in the French army, was awarded the Special Jury Award at the Namur Film Festival. His films include Le Silence des champs de betteraves [The Silence of the Beet Fields, 1998], Ouarzazate the Movie (2001), Cheikhates Blues (2004), Wanted (2011), and Ubur al-Bab al-Sabe’h [Crossing the Seventh Gate, 2017]. Essafi moved back to Morocco in 2002 and worked as an advisor to the Moroccan public television channel for three years before returning to film directing in 2009.

Followed by a discussion with Ali Essafi and Rasha Salti (member of the 12th Berlin Biennale’s artistic team)