Hicham Lasri: “I have a personal aversion to what I call “nice Arab cinema””

Hicham Lasri: “I have a personal aversion to what I call “nice Arab cinema””
Hicham Lasri: “I have a personal aversion to what I call “nice Arab cinema””

Fadoua Taleb, Kathy in “Moroccan Badass Girl”, is a “Marrokia Harra“. She does not let the harshness of her social environment get her down. A real fighter. This film by Hicham Lasri advocates satire, irony and sarcasm. Major ingredients in all the films of the author of “It’s They the Dogs”.

Lasri says he wants to celebrate the fighting spirit of the Moroccan woman, who is not submissive or victimized as imagined, but rather a pioneer who fights, who falls and then gets back up.

Le360: You say that “Moroccan Badass Girl” is a sequel to “Bissara Overdose”. To what extent is this film a continuation of these capsules that you broadcast on the Internet, with your favorite actress, Fadwa Taleb, as the main actress?

“Moroccan Badass Girl” is the continuity, or rather the expansion of the main character of “Bissara Overdose”. You should know that in 2016-2017, I was experiencing a sort of existential malaise, I no longer wanted to make films, neither for cinema nor for television. On the other hand, I wanted to explore what we call digital writing. I wanted to answer the following question: how do you tell a story through someone speaking to the camera?

The notion of the fourth wall, borrowed from theater, was very important to me. From there came the idea of ​​these “Bissara overdose” capsules, written with Fadwa Taleb and shot in sequence with my phone. It was something anecdotal, research that I shared.

I found people’s reaction quite exceptional, because some didn’t really understand the concept. They thought it was Fadoua Taleb who was talking about herself… This confusion disturbed me and I wanted to continue working on these sociological portraits of an angry young Casablanca woman.

“I find the “memefication” of everyday life situations fascinating.”

— Hicham Lasri, director.

From there we developed the concept. We deconstructed concepts like “l’Bertuch” (bachelor’s wife). They almost became memes. I find the “memefication” of everyday life situations fascinating.

Actress Fadwa Taleb wears “Moroccan Girl Badass”. You also declared that if she had not accepted the script, you would not have made this film…

It’s like I was trying to make a film about “No Vaseline Fatwa” without Salah Bensalah. It is not possible. I wouldn’t do it, it doesn’t interest me at all. It is the combination of his talent, my desire, and our shared energy that will make the project succeed.

Fadwa is someone with whom I have been collaborating for a very long time, visibly or invisibly, on things for television, for cinema… She played in my film “Jahiliya”, but we don’t see her. We only see her legs, and she agreed to play the game. I personally cultivate these friendships with the actors.

“If Fadoua Taleb had become veiled for example, or if she had changed her orientation, I would not have made this film.”

— Hicham Lasri, director.

Everyone who worked with me: Malek Akhmiss, Salah Bensalah, Aziz Hattab, I ended up writing a film for them in which they are the hero, the main character. This inspires me.

If Fadwa Taleb had become veiled for example, or if she had changed her orientation, I would not have made this film, because it absolutely does not interest me. It’s really his presence in the story that motivated me and made me want to make this film.

Read also: In “Moroccan Badass Girl”, Hicham Lasri shoots everything that moves

You are not afraid of imprisoning Fadwa Taleb in your trademark?

No, I do not think so. It’s quite the opposite. I consider that I wrote this film knowing Fadwa very well. Everyone knows Fadwa the funny, in her incredibly comic energy, in her verve, in her way of being, in her way of playing, but no one knows Fadwa the tragedian.

The narrative arc of the film and the story is how we go from a character who wants to be anecdotal, light, to another abrasive, punk character. We feel sorry for her. It moves us because there is despair. Fadwa managed to negotiate this shift and I don’t think there are many actors capable of carrying this type of character who will completely change genre and tone in the middle of the film.

Sarcasm and irony are always at the center of your films, almost systematically. Couldn’t you have made your films differently?

I think the film reflects who we ultimately are. I have a very personal aversion to what I call “nice Arab cinema”. That is to say a cinema which will exploit our miseries and make heavy, ultra-dramatic films about social phenomena.

“I don’t want to film people who are going to complain, who are self-flagellate…”

— Hicham Lasri, director.

I believe that we must always attack reality with the energy of hope. From the moment we have this hope, we never give up. In the cinema, we can invent a character who gives up, but in reality, we always dream of a way out. That’s what interests me, because I don’t want to film people who are going to complain, who are self-flagellate…

I also don’t want to film an immaculate heroine. It’s pointless, it’s tedious and it doesn’t produce good drama. What I like, however, is the concept of the anti-hero, which was very present in the 90s, but less and less nowadays. He is the fallible character who fights, whatever his situation. And generally, it’s a character on the margins who struggles, who refuses the status quo. Sarcasm, irony, it’s a good way to question our stupidity. I find it interesting that at the end, the character indirectly becomes the villain of the story.

As a man, it is very difficult for me to write a female character, because people could question my legitimacy. How to film the woman without her being an object? How to film women in such a way as to always be tender and not judgmental? It’s very important to me not to do social pornography.

By Quds Chabaa And Said Bouchrite

05/11/2024 at 7:58 p.m.

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