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NNarrative Feature Competition

Death for Sale

Death for Sale

Original Title: Baya Al Maut
Director: Faouzi Bensaïdi
Morocco, France, Belgium, United Arab Emirates | Arabic
2011 | 117min. | Colour
Subtitles: English
Format: 35mm
18+
Tétouan, the Atlantic port city in the north of Morocco. Three young men –common thugs in the eyes of many, the hopelessly unemployed street population of Morocco's provincial cities to others ndash;decide to rob a jewelry store to break out of the cycle of helplessness and poverty that weighs on their destiny like a life sentence. Dashing Malik is in love with Dunia, a cabaret dancer, and wants "start-up capital" to rescue her from despair. Thirty-year-old Allal, the toughest of the three, wants the fast cash to stake a solid entrée into the drug-smuggling underworld. Impish 18-year-old Soufiane wants to kill the jewelry store owner. When the heist goes awry, the destinies of these three friends diverge drastically.

The noir motif in the plot of Death for Sale is a poetic narrative guise for director Faouzi Bensaïdi to draw an incisive and intricate portrayal of an economically marginalized city abandoned to fend for itself, prey to smugglers and corrupt officials, extremism and dejection. Marc-André Batigne's cinematography captures with masterful acuity the stark contrast between the magnificent openness of the sky and Tétouan's sinuous, seedy underworld. Batigne's bond with Bensaïdi's directorial style, steadily shifting from contemplative to terse, is almost corporeal. The director has cast young, relatively unknown actors whose raw energy fills the screen –a risky but judicious choice. Another remarkable feat in Bensaïdi's singularly versatile filmography, Death for Sale reminds us how cinema can so eloquently mirror being in the world.

–Rasha Salti

Contains: Adult themes, Violence

Director,  Faouzi Bensaïdi

Director,  Faouzi Bensaïdi

Faouzi Bensaïdi was born in Morocco. He worked as a director and actor in theater before making his first short film, The Cliff (1997), which won 23 festival prizes. In 1999, he co-wrote the script for André Téchiné’s Far. The year 2000 saw him direct two shorts: the Cannes winner The Wall, which he is currently developing as a feature with a grant from ADFF’s SANAD fund, and Rain Line, which won a prize at the Venice Film Festival. His 2003 feature debut, A Thousand Months, won two prizes at Cannes and was followed in 2006 by WWW – What a Wonderful World. He sat on ADFF’s Narrative Competition Jury last year.

Cast and Crew

Director
Faouzi Bensaïdi
Cast
Fehd Benchemsi, Fouad Labiad, Mouhcine Malzi, Imane Elmechrafi, Nezha Rahil, Faouzi Bensaïdi, Mohamed Choubi
Production Company
Entre Chien et Loup
Music
Richard Horowitz
Producer
Sebastien Delloye, Souad Lamriki, Benedicte Bellocq
Screenwriter
Faouzi Bensaïdi
Editor
Danielle Anezin
Cinematographer
Marc-André Batigne
Art Director
Itaf Benjelloun
Sound
Patrice F. Mendez, Gert Janssen, Luc Thomas
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