Screening Morocco: Contemporary Film in a Changing Society by Valérie K. Orlando (review)


Valérie Orlando’s last work, Screening Morocco: Contemporary Film in a Changing Society, is not a simple study of Moroccan films produced and distributed between 1999 and 2010. The book is also a wonderful overview of the development of the film industry in Morocco from colonial times until the present and as such, represents a valuable introduction for students and scholars interested in learning more about a vibrant and promising young cinema. Orlando’s choice of the time interval for the films she studies is justified by the drastic changes that have occurred in Morocco’s society since 1999, that is, after the death of King Hassan II and the end of what is commonly referred to as the “Lead Years,” an era of repression characterized by strong censorship, human right abuses, and the disappearance of thousands of political opponents and activists who were arrested, detained, and tortured in secret prisons. The films produced in the first decade of the new millennium, Orlando argues, reflect the magnitude of the cultural and socio-political change that has taken place in the country and constitute some of the most thought-provoking cinematic productions of the Maghreb today.

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