The Birds of the Mountains
Producer: Lamia Chraibi
Production Company: La Prod
Mestafa is a ten year old boy, fatherless, living in a village not far from Marrakech. One evening he found by chance, in a small box, a portrait of a man dressed in Gnaoua and carrying a drum. His mother Mina explains this is the photo of his uncle Layachi who lives in Marrakech. Mestafa saw him only once when he was two years old. She offers to take him to meet him during school holidays, but only if he does good at school. Mission accomplished. Mestafa discovers that his uncle is a Maâlem, a Gnawa master. He is fascinated by this world and starts to discover the Gnawa rituals. In Marrakech, the day of the Mouloud is approaching and Layachi’s troop is preparing to buy a camel for the sacrifice before going to a pilgrimage to Moussem Moulay Brahim. But this year, they don’t have enough money to buy the camel. And without it, no pilgrimage, which seems like a drama. In a Lila (a night ceremony of possession), Mestafa enters into a deep trance. Now, he is also inhabited, he will become a Gnawi. Soon, the holidays are over and Mestafa is back home, to his small village and his routine. But he is not happy about it and wants to come back to his uncle Layachi’s mystical and musical life. On his way to school, he stops at the bus station and asks for a ticket to Moulay Brahim to join the beloved troop.
Daoud Aoulad-Syad was born in Marrakech in 1953 and later studied at the La Fémis Film Workshop in Paris, starting a prestigious career as a photographer before going on to make short films and documentaries. His movie Tarfaya (2003) was a contender in the Official Selection at San Sebastian 2004, and En Attendant Pasolini (2007) was the Best Arab Film at the Cairo Festival. His last movie was THE MOSQ