Rock the Casbah – Director, Laila Marrakchi

Rock the Casbah is set in Morocco and is all in French and Arabic with just a smattering of English. This was really fun to watch. Although if I tell you the whole plot you will wonder how I could have found it so. It includes a suicide resulting from a pregnancy from an incestuous relationship, a bastard son who only learns who his father is at the end of the movie, a father who has an affair with the maid/nanny who has lived with the family for 30 years, an estranged daughter who has run off to America and… well so it goes. Nonetheless the movie is charming, humane, funny, and very entertaining and it all works out in the end. The stars are the women (the mother, maid, and three daughters) and they all play an equal role in making the film come together. The members of this apparently dysfunctional family come together for a three day funeral event for their suddenly deceased patriarch who is, of course the source of all the problems, and who is played by Omar Sharif. How does Sharif play a dead person? Well he is the narrator and appears as a character watching the events of his funeral unfold and he is wonderful in the role. Over the three days of the funeral event the secrets all come out one by one creating division and distress but in the end bringing everyone closer together. There is a great scene near the end of the film with them all at a window welcoming the arrival of the American husband of the estranged daughter. His arrival of course brings the entire family together at last. At the very end with the entire family laughing and clearly reconciled, Sharif faces the audience and comments: When I was young, my mother told me: “Never cause a woman to cry my son because God will count all the tears.” He smiles and shrugs and shuffles off down the garden path. Lovely film.

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