AHMED BOUANANI / by Caitlin Murray

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from The Shutters:

He fires the only bullet, one bullet is enough. And the sun felt dizzy. Morning no longer knows which way to turn. The entire city, the walls, the lights, the new sky where the stars barely had time to turn on. Everything falls in front of my bicycle.

Bouanani took a job at the Centre Cinematographique Marocain (CCM), the only national institution dedicated to film production. He also worked for two years at the Institut des Arts Populaires, traveling across the country to film disappearing local arts, customs, poems and songs…Like many of his contemporaries, Bouanani wrestled with how to close the enormous rifts opened by colonialism, and how to withstand erasures and distortions of the new regime.

In a 1974 interview, he said:

My only ambition—and it’s the ambition of all Moroccan filmmakers—is to get audiences used to seeing themselves on the screen, seeing their own problems on the screen, and from that, being able to judge themselves and the society in which they live. The screen must cease to be the privileged mirror of foreign countries.

Bouanani was a contributor to the avant-garde magazine Souffles. The artists who gathered around Souffles were struggling to define an alternative, indigenous modernity. They believed that a cultural revolution must necessarily accompany a political transformation.

[emma goldman’s les: 6 to 12 - (maybe with music by RM or CT?) - keep the heartbeat]

At the CCM, Bouanani himself was suspected (falsely) of being a Communist. His films were censored, and in 1967 he was banned from directing. He made the short film 6 et 12-a visual and acoustic portrait of Casablanca from the early morning until noon—but did not take credit as the director. Relegated to the basement of the CCM, Bouanani poured over footage from the French colonial archives and emerged with Memoire 14, a collage of Moroccan history. The title is shred with one his poems, which is read over the opening sequence of the film:

Happy is he whose memory rests in peace.
Whether the earth bears or does not bear,
whether the streams flow with honey or blood,
whether our gaze if blinded or cut off,
our memory endures—
may it regain the rhythm of our twenties