The MiscreantsOriginal Title: Les mécréants/Al Maghdoob Allayhom
Director: Mohcine Besri
Morocco, Switzerland | Arabic, French
Subtitles: Arabic, French, English
On the order of their spiritual leader, three young Islamists (Mustapha El Houari, Omar Lotfi and Aissam Bouali) kidnap a group of free-spirited actors (three men and two women) who are about to go on tour with their latest show. But when the kidnappers arrive at the isolated farmhouse in the countryside designated as the spot to imprison their frightened
and bewildered captives, they find themselves unable to reach their commanders
for further orders. Over seven tense days of forced seclusion and interaction, the two groups find that their most closely held convictions and prejudices are challenged.
Now residing in Switzerland, Morocco-born Mohcine Besri tackles a thorny issue with this low-budget drama: how people from the same nation can maintain radically different beliefs about issues such as religious observance, art, dress and individual choice. While for most audiences, the kidnappers represent the reprobates, Besri shows us why the Islamists consider
the actors to be miscreants.
Yet even as secularity and non-conformity are pitted against religious fundamentalism, the film validates
that humans have a lot in common in spite of their differences and that doubt about one’s convictions is more valuable than certainty. Fluidly shooting on digital video, Swiss cinematographer Pascal Montjovent provides striking visuals of the Moroccan countryside. The Miscreants
won the prize for best first work at the National Film Festival in Tangier.
– Alissa Simon