Controversial Moroccan movie “Much Loved,” known in Morocco as “Zin Li Fik,” has recently become available on streaming platform Netflix in several additional countries. The movie, however, is still unavailable for Netflix users in Morocco due to its national ban.
Despite first appearing on Netflix in the US, the UK, Canada, and India in September 2017, the Moroccan movie remained restricted in several countries.
Recently, however, the movie became available in new countries. On December 1, it became available for the first time on Netflix France. Earlier this year, it also became available for streaming in Argentina, Spain, the Czech Republic, Singapore, and Malaysia.
The movie is available with its original voice acting in the Moroccan dialect, Darija. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, and Hebrew, as well as several local languages, depending on the viewer’s location.
Released in 2015, “Much Loved” narrates the story of four Moroccan prostitutes as they struggle against the dangers and stigma that comes from their profession. The movie’s crude dialogue and explicit sexual scenes caused national controversy.
Soon after the movie was released, the Moroccan government banned its projection in cinemas for “serious contempt of moral values and Moroccan women,” and for “flagrant violation of the Kingdom’s image.”
A large number of Moroccans, however, bypassed the ban and watched the movie through illegal streaming services.
The ban divided the Moroccan society between supporters of the film and opponents.
Those who supported the ban believe the movie portrays Morocco in a negative way and that the sexual scenes offend Morocco’s Islamic principles.
Meanwhile, some progressive voices defended the movie under the right of freedom of speech. They argued that it is necessary to shed light on some phenomena in a shocking way in order to bring change.
“Much Loved” director Nabil Ayouch and main actress Loubna Abidar suffered much of the backlash that the movie caused. The director and actress were subject to heavy defamation and received several death threats.
Loubna Abidar, who acted out several provocative scenes in the movie, assumed the role she played and publicly expressed her pride for participating in the film. However, she was a victim of physical aggression from assailants who called her “a prostitute.”
The incident led the actress to flee Morocco and live in France in November 2015. Since then, several media in Europe invited Abidar to talk shows and she assumed the role of an advocate for women’s emancipation.
In 2018, she released an autobiography in French titled “La Dangereuse” (The Dangerous), where she narrates how she grew up in “a patriarchal and misogynistic society.”
Despite its ban in Morocco, “Much Loved” has featured in several international cinema festivals, including the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival in France.
The addition of the movie to the Netflix catalog in additional countries builds on the Moroccan film’s relative international success, despite its domestic ban.