Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets
The vacant lots and streets of Casablanca are home to a band of kids who sleep in the open air and support themselves through petty crime under the tutelage of Dib, boss of their scruffy underage Mafia. Four of the gang, Ali, Kouka, Omar, and Boubker, rebel against Dib's oppressive rule and strike out on their own, running away from "home" a second time. When Dib's thugs try to return them by force, Ali is killed. The remaining three friends stash the body and set off on a frenetic quest to give him a proper burial. "Maybe he had a sh*tty life, but he won't be buried like a piece of sh*t." Bound together by their search, they find meaning, transcendence, and a measure of peace. Despite their marginalization, the boys still long for love and tenderness, and they still dream. Ali's fantasy was to escape to the seas, become a sailor, reach the island "where two suns set," become the royal prince, and "meet a lovely woman." Set against the cruel street world, with its incessant rhythm of crime, violence, and degradation, is a sensitive, poetic evocation of the emotions of the protagonists and the dead Ali.
Cast: Saïd Taghmaoui, Abdelhak Zhayra, Mustapha Hansali, Hicham Moussoune, Mounïm Kbab
Produced by: Jean Cottin, Etienne Comar
Directed by: Nabil Ayouch
Written by: Nabil Ayouch, Nathalie Saugeon
Running time: 1hr 35min
Opens: Jan 19, 2001 Sundance '01
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