The film explores a 1981 massacre in Casablanca through interviews and interactions with the director’s family and former neighbours.
At the 20th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, Moroccan filmmaker Asmae El Moudir became the first local director to secure the festival’s top prize Étoile D’Or with her hybrid documentary, The Mother of All Lies.
Selected as Morocco’s official submission for the Best International Feature category at the 2024 Oscars, ‘The Mother Of All Lies’ recently premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, earning the section’s best director prize.
The Mother Of All Lies is a hybrid documentary influenced by the historic bread riots that transpired in El Moudir’s hometown of Casablanca in 1981. The film not only made waves at Cannes but also clinched the coveted L’Oeil d’Or (Golden Eye) prize for Best Documentary, sharing this honour with Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania’s Four Daughters, which serves as Tunisia’s submission for the Oscars this year.
In The Mother of All Lies, El Moudir explores her family’s history and the stories and lies told surrounding the upheaval and violence of the 1981 Bread Riots in Casablanca. With no archive footage or even photographs, to draw on, she painstakingly recreates, from memory, her family’s old apartment and the old Casablanca neighbourhood in the form of a miniature set on a soundstage, with figurines to represent her family members.
The film is directed, written, produced and edited by El Moudir. Egypt’s Marc Lotfy contributed as a co-producer through his Fig Leaf Studios company.
Vienna-based Autlook Filmsales handle the film’s international sales.
In additional recognitions at the Marrakech Film Festival, the Jury Prize was awarded to Moroccan director Kamal Lazraq’s thriller Hounds and French-Palestinian-Algerian filmmaker Lina Soualem’s Bye Bye Tiberius.
Further accolades saw the title of Best Director bestowed upon French-Senegalese director Ramata-Toulaye Sy for her film Banel & Adama, which also world premiered at Cannes 2023.
The acting categories saw Asja Zara Lagumdzija securing the Best Actress award for her role in the Bosnian drama Excursion by Una Gunjak, while Doga Karakas claimed the title of Best Actor for the Turkish film Dormitory by Nehir Tuna.