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Ali Zaoua
Ali Zaoua
Actors: Saïd Taghmaoui, Mounim Kbab, Mustapha Hansali, Abdelhak Zhayra, Amal Ayouch
Director: Nabil Ayouch
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
NR     2005     1hr 39min

Ali, Kwita, Omar, and Boukber are a group of street urchins living on the hard streets of Casablanca. Their everyday lives are filled with violence, begging, and indifference. In order to survive they create a bond of frie...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Saïd Taghmaoui, Mounim Kbab, Mustapha Hansali, Abdelhak Zhayra, Amal Ayouch
Director: Nabil Ayouch
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Film Movement
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Arabic, French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Respect and dignity prevail over a wretched life
Rizzo | Denver, CO | 08/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Director Nabil Ayouvh's 2nd movie focuses the daily activities of street urchins in Casablanca Morocco. These young boys lived together in vacant lots and participated in gang life, begging, prostitution, glue sniffing and violence. Ali Zaoua ran away from home when his mother was propositioned to sell his eyes.

The movie begins when four boys break away from their gang leader, Dib. As the thugs attempt to win them back, Young Ali Zaoua is killed when hit in the head with by a flying rock. We don't get to know who Ali is, as he is killed immediately, but we learn about him as the boys worship him as a hero and a prince as they embark on a journey to bury him with dignity, on a private island he dreamed about. Ali's dream was to be a sailor. The friends hide his body in a hole/cave so that only they can bury him at sea.

It is said that Director Ayouch recruited non-professional actors, actual street kids, unlike the oldest boy, a deaf gang leader who is a real actor.

You will see depiction of the rough life these boys endure, but you will explore their childhood innocence and their dreams. It is a sharp contrast. We see this film through the eyes of the children. It is a moving film about friends who live between children surviving on the streets with brutal realities and fables and fantasy.

This 2000 movie has won numerous awards. The DVD subtitles are very clear to read. There isn't much on the special features, and lacks much about the director or any commentary.

See this movie with family, although there is harsh language, it may not be suitable for young children. The message is powerful and moving. ....MzRizz"
The Real Casablanca
Jedidiah Palosaari | Fes, Morocco | 12/04/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an incredibly moving portrait of the life of homeless children on the streets of Casablanca. I first saw this four years ago at an Arab Film Festival, and just now watched it again, for the first time after living in Casablanca for three years, learning the culture and language. While I question the complete accuracy of some of the translation, the main message comes across correctly, showing us the real Casablanca.

That other movie by the name- it has nothing to do with reality. Nice movie, but it's done on a soundstage in Hollywood. Honestly, there should be a clue when the moving moment in the movie is when there's a battle between the German and French national anthems- and no mention of the Moroccan anthem. If you want to see a movie of what life is like in Morocco, I'd recommend Hideous Kinky. If you want to see what life is like in Casablanca, I'd recommend this one.

There are many beautiful places in Morocco. Casablanca's not one of them. It's a large, gritty city of six million. The best thing it has going for it are the unofficial three million poor living in shanty towns- for there is great opportunity in Casablanca to care for the poor and work with them. This movie vividly describes their plight- and the poorest of the poor who don't even have a roof over their heads. There are truly children everywhere, begging when the taxi pulls up, sniffing glue, and looking for food. Unique among major Arab cities, Casablanca truly does support two red light districts. This is a hard movie. There are scenes in it you never want to see again- and made all the worse because they are reality.

There is also poignant joy in the movie, interspersed wit magical realism and simple animation showing the hope the children create for themselves in the midst of squalor and evil. Even without glue they find moments to laugh at. Nabil Ayouch, the director, scored a coup in using actual street kids for performances, one of whom (the soccer player) went on to star in the most popular Moroccan sitcoms, like Laila Fatima. It gives greater veracity to the ups and downs of their lives. At times the soccer player breaks out into song, using the national anthem with new words of simple love. The joy in cora, soccer, and the support for that greatest of Casablanca teams, Raja, is palpable. Soccer brings the moments of greatest bliss in the movie, where the soccer player brings a smile that can light up the entire block. This is true Casablanca. In three years, the happiest I ever saw men on the street is when Morocco advanced to the Finals of the Africa Cup.

This movie is filled with awfulness, for it is too true, too real. It is about the hardship of life. And finding the small parts of good, even if you have to imagine them. In Moroccan Arabic, Raja means "Hope".

Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People"
One of the Best Moroccan Films, Story of orphan kids
daznote | Toronto, ON, CANADA | 01/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Best film I have seen in this year (2002). A Story of friendship and hope. Childhood struggles in an orphan life. orphan kids wander the streets in the city's abandoned construction sites. Takes place in Casablanca, Morocco."