- Golden Globe Awards
The Blue Caftan (Morocco)
The Moroccan film, The Blue Caftan, by director Maryam Touzani, is about cultural identity, traditions, liberties, and acceptance. It is about the breaking of taboos.
The movie revolves around a married couple, united by love and mutual respect, as well as a passion for the profession of making and embroidering traditional Moroccan caftans, a handcraft that is about to disappear. They have a store in the city of Salé. Mina (Lubna Azabal) shows the embroidered caftans to her female customers while her husband, Halim (Saleh Bakri), stays in a closed room doing his craft.
The husband seeks the help of a young man to embroider the caftans and to teach him the profession that he fears will perish. Thus, Youssef (Ayoub Missioui) enters their quiet life and stirs up pent-up feelings within the husband. The wife notices these feelings from the start.
She deliberately ignores them as she ignores the cancer ravaging her. She tries to seize times of happiness and intimacy with her husband, bypassing reality completely. She does not want to admit her husband’s inclinations and tries to expel the young man from their lives, but fails. The disease attacks her fiercely and she succumbs to it, finally accepting the mutual love between her husband and Youssef. She even asks Youssef to share the last days of her life with them. Youssef gives them the happiness and joy they have lost recently. She dies satisfied and happy, wearing a blue caftan that her husband made for her.
Touzani chose to cross banned lines in Morocco with a bold subject but without any shocking scenes for the audience. Homosexuality is an existing issue, but nobody can talk about it in eastern and Islamic societies. After screening her film at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, Touzani said, “The idea of this movie came after I met a married man. And I felt that he has a parallel sexual life, but he hides it.” She added, “I hope this film will be an occasion to start a dialogue about homosexuality in Morocco.”
Touzani participated in the Cannes Film Festival’s “Un Certain Regard” section in 2019 with her first film Adam. This year she came to the competition with The Blue Caftan, her second film, which won the FIPRESCI Prize. It has been submitted to the Golden Globe Awards for Best Non-English Language Film consideration.