By Chaimae Boulifa
Rabat – The city of Tangier has long been a travel destination that inspires lovers of literature, poetry, and cinema with its impressive landscapes and spectacular architecture. The city is also a favorite of international filmmakers, enjoying close proximity to Europe as well as political stability.
Many movies were shot during Tangier’s “golden era” (1924-1956), when it was an “international zone” jointly governed by nine European countries. At the time, the city developed a reputation for international arts and intrigue, home to spies, business men, artists, authors, and playwrights.
Younes Chiekh Ali, a local artist specializing in the city’s history, explained to Morocco World News that, since the image of Tangier had a global cultural impact during this “Interzone” period, major international filmmakers chose it as the setting for their productions, or at least used the city’s name in their movies’ titles, such as ‘Man From Tangier’ and ‘Espionage in Tangier’.
The French movie ‘Mektoub’ (1919), directed by Jean Pinchon and Daniel Quintin, was the first movie filmed in the city of Tangier, paving the way for the approximately 60 other foreign movies, he noted.
Here is a list of some remarkable films set in Tangier:
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
The vampire film directed by Jim Jarmusch tells the story of a depressed musician who reunites with his lover. However, relationship is disrupted by the arrival of the woman’s uncontrollable younger sister.
The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, as well as being ranked among the “100 greatest films since 2000”, in a poll by 177 critics around the world, in 2016.
Changing Times (2004)
This French drama directed by André Téchiné follows an engineer travelling from France to Tangier to command a new project and catch up with the woman he loved 30 years ago.
The Sheltering Sky (1990)
This drama film, directed by the Italian Bernardo Bertolucci, is based on Paul Bowles’ 1949 novel of the same name.
The movie tells the story of couple who travels to northern Africa in the hopes of reviving their love relationship but soon fall prey to the dangers of the landscape as well as their own repressed emotions.
El Chergui (Engl. ‘The Violent Silence’) (1975)
This film by the Moroccan director Moumen Smihi deals with Tangier on the eve of independence, presenting a society torn by contradictions.
The film follows Aisha, whose husband plans to take a second wife, as she resorts to old religious and magical practices in an effort to stop him. Fully covered at the beginning, the protagonist ends with her face bare and her hair flying free.
Flight to Tangier (1953)
The action film, directed by Charles Marquis Warren, reveals the story of a group of people awaiting the arrival of a mysterious plane from behind Tangier airport’s iron curtain. However, the plane crashes and burns, with no survivors nor corpses found, leading to an investigation for a missing courier worth USD 3 million.