The Moroccan film “The Mother of All Lies” has achieved a historic feat by becoming the first-ever recipient of the Étoile D’Or (Golden Star), the top prize at the Marrakech Film Festival.
Asmae El Moudir’s hybrid documentary, “The Mother of All Lies,” was also Morocco’s official submission for the Best International Feature category at the 2024 Oscars.
The film creatively delves into her family’s haunted past and Morocco’s history during the “Years of Lead” under King Hassan II through a unique use of a model and figurines, addressing the challenges of limited archival footage.
The narrative unfolds against the backdrop of the violently suppressed “hunger riots” in Casablanca in June 1981.
Ecstatic about winning Morocco’s first Etoile d’Or, director El Moudir explained that her joy knew no bounds since it was the first director of her origin to pick the award in 20 years, according to Africa News.
“I’m very, very happy to receive the first Etoile d’or for Morocco. I’m not talking about myself today, I’ve already talked about myself and my film at all the festivals where I’ve won seventeen 17 prizes. Today is the 18th, and what 18th! For the 20th edition (of the festival, Eds.), we’ve got our first Etoile, it’s still 20 years, but we’ve got it, we’ve got it.”
“Every society has a truth that’s been buried, burned, redacted and erased,” said jury president Jessica Chastain upon announcing the top prize. “But by a collective remembrance, we preserve the stories that cannot be undone… In this courageous director hands, we don’t just discover the truth, we are made complicit in its resurrection in equal parts pain and healing.”
“This film creates its own genre and introduces a great new voice in cinema,” Chastain added.
The Jury Prize went to Kamal Lazraq for “Hounds” and Lina Soualem for “Bye Bye Tibériade,” exploring the life of actress Hiam Abbass.
French-Senegalese director Ramata-Toulaye Sy secured the Best Director award for her debut film “Banel & Adama” at the 20th edition of the festival.
Bosnian actress Asja Zara Lagumdzija was honored as Best Actress for “Excursion,” while Turkish actor Doga Karakas received the Best Actor award for “Dormitory.”
The festival’s conclusion, spanning from November 24 to December 2, carried a tone of “sobriety” amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.