fri 23/10/2020

Morocco

Little Birds, Sky Atlantic review - decadence and intrigue in 1950s Morocco

Diarist, novelist and writer of erotica Anaïs Nin lived a brilliantly-coloured life littered with affairs with literary A-listers (Henry Miller, John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell et al). She might have been delighted by this playfully-written and...

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Tahar Ben Jelloun: The Punishment review - triumph over torture

In July 1966, Tahar Ben Jelloun’s life changed. As punishment for participating in a peaceful student demonstration against the authoritarian King Hassan II of Morocco, he was detained and sent to a military encampment at El Hajeb, “a village where...

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Album: Bab L'Bluz - Nayda

Bab L’Bluz are a Franco-Moroccan band, They’re the latest in a succession of musicians - going back to the pioneers Nass El Ghiwane, and the recently departed Rachid Taha - to have created a vibrant fusion of traditional sounds from the Maghreb with...

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John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum review - mayhem in Manhattan

Keanu Reeves’s hitman franchise is blossoming into a delirious little earner. This third instalment reunites the star with director Chad Stahelski – who used to be Keanu’s stunt double in the Matrix films – and screenwriter Derek Kolstad, and keeps...

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CD: Abdesselam Damoussi and Nour Eddine - Jedba

It’s not often that music of this kind gets a release outside of Morocco, and Arc Music and the producer/musicians must be applauded for curating such an intense, inside view on the ecstatic release of Sufi music across the kingdom, often drawn from...

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theartsdesk in Essaouira: Festival of Gnawa - 21st-century trance masters

Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, is the place of winds. Day or night, hot or cold, year in, year out, the “Alizee” blows, and it blows. In the local folklore it is not from the ocean but a grumbling resident of the medina – perhaps protesting...

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Blue Planet II, BBC One review - just how fragile?

The eel is dying. Its body flits through a series of complicated knots which become increasingly grotesque torques. Immersed in a pool of brine — concentrated salt water five times denser than seawater — it is succumbing to toxic shock. As biomatter...

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CD: Tamikrest - Kidal

Tamikrest’s fourth album is well-presented, good enough, but a little hamstrung by what have become the clichés of the modern Touareg genre: the lilting rhythms of a camel cruising slowly across the dunes, intertwined guitars that smoothly swirl...

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Casablanca

You must remember this. It’s December 1941, the month of Pearl Harbour. Richard Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), an American, probably a Communist, who fought Franco in Spain and ran guns to Ethiopia when Mussolini invaded, has given up the fight against...

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Allied

While it makes for a moderately amusing evening out, this World War Two espionage-romance caper doesn't stand up to a lot of scrutiny (I'm trying to work out where they managed to find the "Best Film of the Year!" quote used in the TV ad). Stars...

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Mobydick: North Africa's outrageous rapper

A couple of years ago I saw an extraordinary outdoor concert where a rapper called Muslim (great name if you want to be hard to find on Google) performed at the Timitar Festival in Agadir in the South of Morocco to 80,000 delirious fans. The song...

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Our Kind of Traitor

John Le Carré made it quite clear what he thinks of the new world order in The Night Manager. All together now: a nexus of corrupt money and sinister establishment interests make for cynical realpolitik. It’s a persuasive weltanschauung that plays...

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