Screening at the Dubai International Film Festival 2012
Casablanca, My Love
An engrossing, informative and an amusing film by John Slattery, that replaces myths with humanity and humour. Casablanca Mon Amour. It shows the link between yesteryear’s Hollywood and today’s Morocco.
Using movies as a road map between yesterday’s Hollywood and today’s Morocco, Casablanca Mon Amour offers a Moroccan perspective on the long and entwined relationship between Hollywood and The Arab/Muslim World.
The story is about two friends – Hassan and Abdel, who embark upon a journey and incidentally discover Morocco. One of the friends wants to meet his uncle, and the other is carrying on a project of filming in Morocco. The story is told via Hollywood movie clips, found material from life on the street, comic behind-the-scenes moments, and quiet glimpses of rural life.
Casablanca Mon Amour examines the entwined relationship between USA and Morocco. Historically, Morocco was the first country to officially recognize USA as a new born nation, some centuries ago.
A non-traditional road movie exploring a Moroccan perspective on the entwined relationship between Hollywood and the Arab/Muslim World.
Casablanca Mon Amour is a modern road movie that encapsulates the more complex and fractured nature of living in a world where TV and wars compete for headlines and occupy imaginations.
Casablanca Mon Amour offers more than a dry critique of the impact of media on culture. Instead, the film takes a human and humorous look at the effects Hollywood films have on people’s imaginations and affords Moroccan’s (our movie set ‘extras’) an opportunity to talk back—which they do in intelligent, witty and wildly ingenious ways.
Casablanca Mon Amour uses the process of movie making as a way of turning the Great American Story on its head – and offering Hollywood and America story about itself.
Filmed in Morocco! It has a run time of 79 mins ! In Arabic & French with English subtitles
Here is the director – John Slattery’s exclusive interview with FILMY TOWN:
FILMY TOWN: What is the film about?
JOHN SLATTERY: We are now two wars and more than ten years after the events of 9/11. And the landscape of the entire Middle East—of the world—radically changes every day.
FILMY TOWN: What do you intend to tell the world?
JOHN SLATTERY: Casablanca Mon Amour addresses what is perhaps the most pressing social issue of our time: The history, strength and quality of a particular relationship between an Arab/Muslim and a Western society. The relationship (between the U.S. and Morocco) is examined through the cultural lens of cinema.
From 1896 to 2000 over 1000 U.S. films showed Arab / Muslim characters. Of these, only 12 films showed positive characters, 52 were even handed, and more than 900 showed negative characters.
FILMY TOWN: It has been about 6 years that the film was in the making.
JOHN SLATTERY: In 2005/6 we conceptualized the story, and then a month for pre-shoot finalization. The film was actually shot in just 3 weeks mostly using the Aaton Super 16, yet the results are fantastic . Then I had other commitments which took a lot of my time, ultimately, the final product is ready now. Yes you can say that the film took 6 years in the making.
FILMY TOWN: So you have portrayed a different perspective of the Arabs?
JOHN SLATTERY: Casablanca Mon Amour offers a critical perspective—one often missing from the dialogue about Islamic World/West relations—on the unchallenged lineage of degrading images of Arabs in Hollywood movies.
With a look toward how these images naturalize prejudicial attitudes toward Arab/Islamic culture in the U.S. as well as how audiences in Arab/Islamic countries interpret these images. Adding to the ongoing debate within the United States about America’s national character and global role, the film connects to similar debates unfolding within the
FILMY TOWN: Any plans for a commercial release of this film?
JOHN SLATTERY: No, I don’t think so. It will be of interest to the universities and film centres all over.
FILMY TOWN: What made you take up this subject?
JOHN SLATTERY: Since my childhood I have been observing Hollywood movies presenting a skewed or a stereotyped picture of Morocco and its people. I want the world to know that we are unlike what is shown in the Hollywood block-busters. And this is the actual portrayal of Moroccan perspective of Hollywood.
FILMY TOWN: Can you please elaborate about your background?
JOHN SLATTERY: I began work in television as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, where I wrote and hosted a pilot for a social-issue TV series at the Moroccan National
Institute of Television.
FILMY TOWN: And about your experience?
JOHN SLATTERY: Professionally I have collaborated with a broad range of talented producers, DP’s and organizations on a number of short and full-length films, and TV shows, including: two-time Academy Award ® winning Cinematographer Haskell Wexler ASC, PBS/WNET American Masters, and MTV.
FILMY TOWN: Can you explain about the flow of the film?
JOHN SLATTERY: The story is told via Hollywood movie clips, found material from life on the street, comic behind-the-scenes moments, and quiet glimpses of rural life.
Casablanca Mon Amour mixes the planned with the un-planned, the road-move with the essay, and offers Buster Keaton-like satire mixed with Kiarostami-esque connections
FILMY TOWN: And a bit more about your production house?
JOHN SLATTERY: In 2004 Zween Works – a multidisciplinary film and video
production house was founded. It produces short and long format social-issue films. Zween Works focus is creating narratives that inform and connect people to issues and
organizations that work for justice.
FILMY TOWN: About your academic qualifications…
JOHN SLATTERY: Born to Irish parents, I hold an MFA from the Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
CAST AND CREW :
Introducing Abdel Il Adrissi and Hassan Ouazzani
Image – Fara Akrami
Sound – Jona Newhall
Editing – Michael Nouryeh
Music – Malhun de Meknes
Audio Post Production – Berkeley Sound Artists
Executive Producer – Leah Simon-Weisberg, Esq.
Stanford Center for Internet and Society, Fair Use Project
Produced and Directed by John Slattery