My Heart in the Maghreb. Jewish-Moroccan Film Week
8 – 12 May 2016
Morocco was once home to the largest Jewish community in any Arab country. In the mid-20th century more than 250,000 Jews resided there, but between the 1950s and 1970s the majority of them left for Israel, Europe, and North America. Today, about 2500 Jews are still living in Morocco, most of them in Casablanca.
For the last twenty years there has been a growing interest in Moroccan Judaism. Young Muslim Moroccans are rediscovering the Jewish heritage in their country, and the descendants of Jewish Moroccan emigrants are retracing the histories of their parents and grandparents and exploring the traditions, narratives, and music of this long ignored culture.
The film week My heart in the Maghreb presents a variety of perspectives on Moroccan Judaism, with feature and documentary films from France, Canada, Israel, and especially from Morocco itself, most of these films being shown in Germany for the first time. All the films will be shown in the original language with English subtitles, and following the screenings the film directors will be present to answer questions in English.
The film week will be accompanied by an introductory historical talk and a closing panel on the culture of memory and Jewish life in Morocco today (both in English). The week will be opened with a concert by the Jewish singer Neta Elkayam, who discovered her own roots in traditional Arab melodies and carries on this Moroccan Jewish cultural heritage with her own original songs.
The film festival is presented by the Jewish-Islamic Forum, part of the Academy Programs of the Jewish Museum Berlin, and organized in cooperation with the “Association des Amis du Musée du Judaïsme Marocain” in Casablanca.
The Association of the Friends of the Museum of Moroccan Judaism AAMJM was founded in Morocco in 2013. It is open to anyone who would like to support the preservation of the cultural heritage of Moroccan Judaism. This association realizes a variety of projects, as presented on the website www.aamjm.org.
With support from: The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in the Federal Republic of Germany
Media Partner: Zitty
10 May, 4 pm
Casablanca 1960. The Jewish community is suffering under the economic crisis and sees itself increasingly confronted with attacks. The film shows several families that must decide if they will stay in Morocco or give in to Zionists envoys’ appeals to emigrate to the young state of Israel. This drama is based on the historic event of the tragic sinking of the ship Egoz in the year 1961, drowning 44 Jewish emigrants on their way from Morocco to Israel.
Q & A with director Mohammed Ismaïl after the screening.
Feature film, Morocco 2007, Director: Mohamed Ismaïl, 115 minutes, Arabic and French with English subtitles
10 May, 6.30 pm
Moroccan Jews. Destinies Undone
Although both Jews and Muslims from Morocco emphasize that the relationship between them had been very good, most Jews left Morocco after its independence in 1956. The Moroccan filmmaker Younes Laghrari is at first unable to find a satisfying answer to the question of what led to this mass emigration. Was it the religious yearning for Jerusalem, the economic crisis, or the promises of Zionist envoys? What were the roles of the conflict in the Middle East, Arab nationalism, and Moroccan politics toward Israel? The director decides to ask historians, witnesses and emigrants.
Q & A with director Younes Laghrari after the screening.
Documentary, Morocco 2014, Director: Younes Laghrari, 59 minutes, English, French and Arabic with English subtitles
10 May, 8 pm
Where are you going, Moshe?
Mustapha runs a bar in a small Moroccan town. The local authorities want to close down his bar, because for religious reasons they oppose the serving of alcohol. However, as long as there are still Non-Muslims in the city, the bar must be allowed to remain open. As the city’s Jews emigrate to Israel, Mustapha and his friends struggle to keep at least one Jew in their city. A funny comedy about the emigration of Jews from Morocco and the reaction of their Muslim neighbors.
Q & A with director Hassan Benjelloun after the screening.
Feature film, Morocco 2007, Director: Hassan Benjelloun, 90 minutes, Arabic with English subtitles
Where, when, what?
10 May 2016, 4 pm, 6.30 pm and 8 pm