Rabat - Nabil Ayouch reacted to the ban decision of his film "Much Loved" which depicts the daily lives of four prostitutes in Morocco's tourism hub Marrakech.
Rabat – Nabil Ayouch reacted to the ban decision of his film “Much Loved” which depicts the daily lives of four prostitutes in Morocco’s tourism hub Marrakech.
The French-Moroccan director said on Tuesday he was shocked after the government announced it is banning the film from screening in Morocco.
“I am shocked and surprised by this ban,” Nabil Ayouch told AFP. “I don’t understand that my film can be banned when we haven’t applied yet for a permit for it to be shown.”
“Much Loved” is a social drama that portrays the daily life of four marginalized women prostitutes in the city of Marrakech, Randa, Nouha, Soukaina and Hlima.
Clips of the film posted to YouTube over the past few days have caused a furor among social media users and local civic associations who called on authorities to ban the film.
The government bowed to public pressure and announced on Monday that “Much Loved” would not be screened in Moroccan movie theaters.
A statement from the Ministry of Communications said the “film undermines moral values, and dignity of Moroccan women, and a flagrant attack on the kingdom’s image.”
The director of “Horses of God” denounced the ban decision.
“The freedom of expression of all Moroccan artists is under threat by this act of censorship by anticipation,” Ayouch said.
“Prostitution is all around us, and instead of refusing to see it we should try to understand how women who have had difficult lives end up this way,” he added.
The Ministry of Communications said in the statement that the decision to ban the film had been taken after a team from the Moroccan Cinematographic Center (CCM), the country’s film regulatory body, saw it at an international festival, referring to Cannes Festival.
CCM Director Sarim Fassi-Fihri told Huffpost Morocco website that the country is still very conservative, and that the film’s “crude language would not have been passed at the level of the commission”.
“At best, scenes would have been cut. At worst, it would have been refused” release, he added.
In an interview with American magazine “Variety”, Ayouch said that before making the movie he spoke to between 200 and 300 young women who were, or had been, prostitutes about their personal backgrounds and what led them onto prostitution.