Marrakech today, Noha, Randa, Soukaina, Hlima and others live a life of love for sale. They're whores, objects of desire. Full of joy and a sense of complicity, dignified and free in their kingdom of women, they overcome the violence of a society that takes advantage of them while at the same time condemning them.Written by
Carthage Film Festival
The film is banned in Morocco for "serious contempt for moral values and Moroccan women" and for "flagrant violation of the Kingdom image". See more »
Performed by DJ Youcef feat. Mohamed Reda
(p) 2011 Yein France (c) 2011 Yein Edition See more »
Good. I wish it was great.
I appreciate how un-judgmental Ayouch is in his 'Much Loved' – a portrait of 4 young prostitutes living together in Marrakech, going to parties with Saudi sheikhs to dance for and ultimate have sex with the men. At the same time they function as a kind of family to hold the world at bay and provide for each other the human tenderness all humans need. (Their real families have rejected them, or left Morocco or died)
The film making never feels exploitive or melodramatic. The life of a medium level hooker in Morocco is shown as neither glamorous nor the depth of hell. It's tough, it's sad, it's degrading, and yet it's clear the world isn't brimming with other ways for these women to make good money, and to live – kinda, sorta – on their own terms. It's also a powerful cry against the abuse of these women in particular but also all women (and gay men) in Morroccos patriarchal society.
On the other hand, I feel like I've been here before more artfully. For example, Paul Thomas Anderson explored how porn stars and crews became each others extended family in "Boogie Nights", but did it with more style, and ultimately more insight and emotion. Whether Lizzie Borden's 'Working Girls' or many other examples, this is hardly new territory if you're not digging deeper than this film does.
Clearly Ayouch is drawn to the outsiders on the edge of society. The three films of his I've seen dealt with; street urchins trying to bury a murdered friend, young boys being trained as terrorists, and now prostitutes. But there's more to exploring these worlds than being real and accepting. For me, all three films (the other two being "Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets" and "Horses of God") while admirable in intent, ultimately didn't go deep enough, and risk feeling like the movie equivalent of an old US 'liberal' TV movie. There's more to really understanding than a lack of moralistic preaching, or accepting the basic humanity of those whom some would deny.
Still, it's well acted, and I appreciated the nice touches of humor and humanity. I just wish it was great.
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