Tag Archives: Arab cinema

MIFF 2013 progress report #2: Death for Sale and Grigris

death-for-saleMy second Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) progress report looks at Death for Sale, which played as part of MIFF’s ‘New Arabic Cinema’ section, and the French/Chadian gangster movie, Grigris.

First up, Death For Sale. I loved everything about this Arabic take on the classic heist movie.

The setting is the working class port town of Tetouan, at the northern edge of Morocco. The film opens with two men, Malik and Soufiane, waiting outside a prison for the release of their friend, Allal, who has been inside for several years on drug trafficking charges.

Each of three men is dealing with their own issues. Malik lives with his sister, mother and a stepfather who he hates. He’s also got a major crush on Dounia, a femme fatale-type hostess at the town’s sole upmarket nightclub. Soufiane is a poor orphan who lives in the dormitory of a home for boys. Allal lives with his alcoholic father and positively seethes with unrealised criminal ambition.

Life is tough in Tetouan and every one does whatever they can to get by. The three men bag snatch when they can, Malik’s sister steals from the garment factory she works in, and Dounia whores herself. Life looks like it will go on, a slow burn of frustration and petty crime, until a police crackdown results in a large chunk of Tetouan’s underworld, including Dounia, being imprisoned.… Read more