A testimony to Morocco’s 2011 February 20th uprising, my first documentary film “My Makhzen and Me” began with a sequence which transported the viewer through a North Africa which had suddenly rebelled against dictatorship and social inequality. Naturally, this sequence began in Tunisia — the birthplace of our glorious revolutions. Little did I know that years later I would find myself filming “Paradises of the Earth” in Tunisia’s southern margins, the very places from which the 2011 revolutions began.
Between then and now, many things have changed — and not just on the geopolitical level — but also on a personal, introspective level. Since then, I have taken time to reflect, to think, to find inspiration, and to learn. This long process of reflection and growth in political consciousness ran in parallel with the political and economic changes in our region, the ebbs and flows between revolution and counter-revolution.
"...explores a dialectical relationship between different people, from different places, and their collective interaction with popular struggles on the margins."
This documentary has therefore come at an appropriate time, it is a way for me to revisit 2011. Whereas my first documentary focused on my individual interaction with popular revolt in the urban centre, this one explores a dialectical relationship between different people, from different places, and their collective interaction with the struggles on the margins. Whereas before I called for pity, now I call for solidarity. Whereas before I detached present from past, here I seek to express historical continuity as it is made by people and not individuals.
In many ways, the year 2017 for me has been a year for experimentation, a year where I try to apply the ideas which I have formed and the ideas which have inspired me over the last six years. This project is the second of three experiments I have conducted this year. One in which I am seeking ideological harmony between the modes of production I employ, the themes I choose to focus on, the filmic and artistic forms I use to express these themes, and the mediums of distribution and exhibition by which the final filmic product reaches its audience.