Rabat - Nabil Ayouch's film on prostitution "Much Loved" continues to spark outrage in Morocco.
Rabat – Nabil Ayouch’s film on prostitution “Much Loved” continues to spark outrage in Morocco.
The Franco-Moroccan film director defied the ban on his prostitution-themed drama and screened the film last week at a private university in the capital Rabat.
According to daily newspaper Al Akhbar, the private university located in Rabat is a French-Moroccan venture headed by Faycal Laaraichi, CEO of La Société nationale de radiodiffusion et de télévision (SNRT), Morocco’s public broadcaster.
Contacted by news website le360, Laaraichi said he is simply one of the founders of the institution, adding that ‘he is not the boss of the school’.
SNRT chief said he was ‘surprised’ by the screening of the film at the university. He also insisted the screening of “Much Loved” was the idea of a student club.
A debate on censorship and freedom of expression took place following the screening. Only a limited number of the university students and academics participated in the debate.
Al Akhbar newspaper said Journalists were denied access to the university to participate in the debate. The same source added that the university assigned extra security to keep “uninvited” people from entering the premises.
During the debate, Nabil Ayouch defended his controversial film and thanked people who published some of the clips on social media platforms. “They offered me free publicity,” Ayouch said, adding that “it was inappropriate to ban the film.”
A source quoted by le360 deemed as ‘illegal’ and ‘against the law’ the screening of “Much Loved” by the university.
“The screening of the film in this space requires authorization,” the source said. “Neither the school nor the director had applied for a permit for it to be shown for cultural purposes.”
“Nabil Ayouch is a man who likes to break the rules and laws,” the source added.
Following the controversy sparked by leaked clips of “Much Loved” posted on social media, the Moroccan government decided to ban the film’s screening in the country’s cinemas.
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.”