(director/writer: Maryam Touzani; screenwriter: Nabil Ayouch; cinematographer: Virginie Surdej; editor: Nicolas Rump; music: Kristian Eiddries Andersen; cast: Lubna Azabal (Mina), Salem Bakri (Halim), Ayoub Missioui (Youssef); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nabil Ayouch; Velvet Films; 2022-Morocco/France/Belgium/Denmark-in Arabic, French with English subtitles)

“It’s a tender story, infused with passion, hope and sensitivity.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Moroccan filmmaker, born in Tangier, Maryam Touzani (“Adam”), directs a rich drama, set in the present times, that she co-writes with Nabil Ayouch (Maryam’s husband).

In the ancient medina of Salé,  the married couple of 25 years, Mina (Lubna Azabal) and Halim (Salem Bakchine, Palestinian actor), have a happy marriage and run a fancy hand-crafted tailor shop that specializes in making woman’s caftans. The marriage survives despite Mina knowing her husband is a homosexual. In Morocco, homosexuality is a criminal offense. He’s the master tailor, a craft inherited from his father. He doesn’t use a sewing machine, sticking to the way the old masters did it. While he does the tailoring, she deals with the customers.

There’s also in the shop his dutiful and soulful young assistant Youssef (Ayoub Missioui), who he pines for and plans to pass on his tailoring skills to.  

It’s a tender story, infused with passion, hope and sensitivity. What we learn is that a caftan of value must survive the passage of time. The value of this film is that it’s timeless.

It played at the Cannes Film Festival

REVIEWED ON 6/27/2023  GRADE: A-