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NHNew Horizons

The Miscreants

The Miscreants

Original Title: Les mécréants/Al Maghdoob Allayhom
Director: Mohcine Besri
Morocco, Switzerland | Arabic, French
2011 | 88min. | Colour
Subtitles: Arabic, French, English
Format: DCP
15+
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

Director,  Mohcine Besri

Director,  Mohcine Besri

Mohcine Besri was born inMèknes, Morocco, and has joint Swiss and Moroccan citizenship. He began his filmmaking career as a screenwriter and assistant director. He made the shortsKafka, Dead or Alive (2006)and Heaven (2007), wrote the script for the second season of Heidi (2008), for Swiss television and co-wrote the screenplay for Laurent Nègre’s Operation Casablanca(2011). The Miscreants (2012) is his feature debut.

Cast and Crew

Director
Mohcine Besri
Cast
Jamila El Haouni, Maria Lalouaz
Production Company
Akka Films, Fusion Films
Music
Philippe Héritier
Producer
Nicolas Wadimoff, Mohcine Besri, Michel Merkt
Executive Producer
Nicolas Wadimoff
Screenwriter
Mohcine Besri
Editor
Naima Bachiri
Cinematographer
Pascal Montjovent
Sound
Taoufiq Mekraz
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