Rabat - Real filmmakers raise questions, create allegories, paint and dig deeply in human nature. But that doesn’t stop them from entertaining us. All is a matter of sensitivity, sincerity and mastering the craft. "The Orchestra of the Blind" did all of this.
Rabat – Real filmmakers raise questions, create allegories, paint and dig deeply in human nature. But that doesn’t stop them from entertaining us. All is a matter of sensitivity, sincerity and mastering the craft. “The Orchestra of the Blind” did all of this.
On Thursday, December 15, Al Aoula TV broadcasted Mohamed Mouftakir’s film entitled “The Orchestra of the Blind.” Unfortunately, I was not able to watch the film again, but I learned on this occasion that this film was ranked third in Morocco upon its release.
I find it delightful to see an auteur film sparking so much interest and enthusiasm amongst the public.
“Why talk about auteur films?” some would ask. Well, simply because by a globally-accepted definition, an auteur film is not a bizarre film or a snob movie. Nor is it an anti-commercial film.
An auteur film is one that reflects the opinion of the director. His thoughts and his view on the world. His own world (his past and feelings) or the world portrayed in the script or the novel or even the song that is adapted to cinema.
An auteur film is a mise en scéne. A lego game. A castle of cards. An assembly and a collage. An entire palette of colors destined to come together on a canvas. On a painting. Or even an exhibition of paintings.
Unlike the purely commercial film, which sticks mainly to a special recipe to increase sales, an auteur film does not seek success in theaters to the detriment of art. It does not favor naive entertainment at the expense of substance and the freedom to create.
An auteur film or a film, merely, is a work of art. No more, no less. That is to say, a piece where there is talent, a lot of work, technicity, desire and, above all else, a worldview and a lot of courage to dare to look at oneself in the mirror, before even wanting to share the work with others.
Asking Instead of Teaching
In cinema, there are no lessons. Absolutely not. In cinema, we give a show, but there should also be an art behind the show. Never a message. Never, ever! Just art!
In my humble opinion, instead of a “message,” I would rather see empathy. A lot of it, even. An empathy that should first overflow from ourselves.
Let’s just be empathetic with ourselves. Empathy pushes us towards a “moral humility” vis a vis ourselves and, more importantly, it allows us to have a very precious separation from the world that surrounds us.
In “The Orchestra of the Blind,” I personally saw all of the following:
The tender (and naive? humble? sincere?) outlook of little Mimo, the film’s protagonist, on his world. The world that surrounds him.
I was also able to see/feel a precious “step back” that describes the first years of King Hassan II’s reign. This stand back contributed to the writing of (whether it was intentional or not) a port of the history of Morocco. The history of a people and of a country, above all else.
A humble film. It reminds me a little of the filmmaking of Federico Fellini) with its family feasts and quarrels always ending without grudges.
A Procession of the Blind
“The Orchestra of the Blind” is, in my perception, an allegory of a dark world from which the film’s little hero intuitively tries to escape.
Technically speaking, the camera — a narrator in the film — never endorses the child’s stances. It follows him objectively, without preventing itself from becoming an accomplice. This complicity appears mainly in the scenes where Mimo hides between the sheets on the terrace or when he is swept in the big, loud family home, full of people coming and going and all kinds of feasts.
In being small, forgotten and hidden, Mimo’s naive eyes tell us a lot about what is ‘not said’ in this family: Extra-marital relationships, secret political engagement, sexual exploitation…
This complicity between the camera and the protagonist brings us into this universe of “blind people.” A kind of procession of the blind that sails at sight and that can, at any moment, encounter an obstacle and open its eyes in shock.
In this case, the obstacles are mainly political repression, sexual frustration and ignorance.
In this film, we are both within the intimate context of a family and within that of a child’s imagination.
Even though it follows a clear linear and chronological narrative, the movie gives us a ‘flashback’ sort of feeling. This feeling comes, in my opinion, from Mouftakir’s mastering of the craft and his ability to make us empathic with Mimo. To occupy his being.
Humor also plays an important role in the film. A child’s naive and frank humor. After all, don’t we say, “la verité sort de la bouche des infants” (the truth comes out of the mouthes of children)?
In any case, this humor softens the situation. It lets the film achieve its goals with tranquility. It helps portray a weak, shaken and oppressed world with joy, hope and humble interrogation. Exactly like a kid would.
I would have liked the film to last more than 120 minutes. I would have liked to watch it for more than 2 hours, in fact. To savor the “slowness” of each scene. Just like I would take pleasure in slowly finishing Fellini’s “Amarcord.”
Anyway, an auteur film is, first, foremost and after all, humble and sincere, and “The Orchestra of the Blind” was all of this.
Translated by Ghita Benslimane
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent any institution or entity.
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