NHNew Horizons / Afaq Jadida Competition
Rough HandsOriginal Title: Ayadin Khashina
Director: Mohamed Asli
Morocco | Arabic
Mustafa is a 40-year-old barber in Casablanca whose clients are retired high-ranking government officials, former cabinet ministers and power brokers in Morocco. He uses this privileged access to run an underground business of “facilitating” government paperwork. While his business thrives, Mustafa does not know his assistant is being paid to monitor his illicit dealings.
Zakia, Mustafa’s next-door neighbor, is a 30-year-old school teacher whose fiancé has emigrated to Spain. She is desperate to join him, but obtaining a visa is impossible. Then she learns that strawberry-picking season in Spain is imminent and a company is hiring Moroccan women to do the work. The women have to be married with children and, most importantly, have rough hands. Zakia asks Mustafa to forge her papers, and enlists her mother to concoct a cream to spoil her skin. Their scheme is set in motion, but another destiny seems written in the stars for Zakia and Mustafa….
At the heart of Rough Hands
, Mohamed Asli’s second feature after his critically acclaimed debut In Casablanca, Angels Don’t Fly
, is a bold indictment of the society that is produced by a corrupt police state and how abuse of the system pervades everyday life. Asli’s lead characters are neither thugs with a heart nor innocent victims: They are at once guilty and compelling, poor folk who bend the system in the pursuit of mundane aspirations – or simply to secure a living.