Standing ovation at the FIFM for Moroccan cinema icon Farida Benlyazid

The 19th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival pays tribute to Farida Benlyazid. Credit: The Desk

It was in front of a full house and a natural audience that the pioneer and central figure of Moroccan cinema Farida Benlyazid, was given a standing ovation this Wednesday evening at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakech, before receiving the Gold Star from the hands of Younes Migri . The details

The 19th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM) paid a special tribute to Farida Benlyazid, the first Moroccan woman to start producing a film. An archi-full room and national and even international cinema professionals, in particular Paolo Sorrentino, for a tribute full of respect, emotion and admiration.

“Farida is one of the most important women in Morocco. Today we pay tribute to an icon who has a special place in the Moroccan cultural scene.said screenwriter Fatima Loukili who opened the tribute ceremony with a statement showing her affection for Farida Benlyazid who “has a particular audacity and a skin-deep sensitivity. I know her as a friend listening to what surrounds her and listening to others”she said, adding that “ this woman contributes significantly to raising awareness and defending the rights of women and their gains”.

Following this statement, Farida Benlyazid expressed her thanks to the Festival Foundation, before receiving the Gold Star awarded to her by actor and composer Younes Migri. The filmmaker tried to recall above all the difficult conditions of organization of the first edition of the Festival, a few months after September 11th.

Moroccan filmmaker Farida Benlyazid receives the Gold Star from the hands of Younes Migri. Credit: The Desk

As part of this first edition, Farida was invited to the Festival as a member of the jury. In this direction, “receiving a tribute fills me with joy, and gives me a feeling of rebirth because I was at the festival as a member of the jury in 2011”, saidshe said, adding “I particularly like this festival which promotes the first works of its authors. The selection has always been excellent. I like these crazy dreams that characterize the first films”.

Talking about her writing and directing process, Benlyazid said that she “always committed to dealing with the richness of Muslim culture through women. The culture wanted them to be illiterate but they have a deep knowledge, a memory and a fabulous oral culture”. Moreover, in her film “The Gate of Heaven”, released in 1988, Farida depicts a spirituality of women far from religious diktats. While in his fiction “Women’s Tricks”inspired by a popular tale, it deals with male domination and the desire to overthrow this order rooted in Moroccan culture, highlighting female intelligence.

Farida Benlyazid approached cinema through writing, directing and production, and transmitted this immeasurable love for the 7th art to his family who started in the same field. Besides, her children and grandchildren were present and the pioneer took the opportunity to thank them in front of an audience just as moved as her.

Farida Benlyazid also thanked Hassan Daldoul, “the Tunisian producer who encouraged me to make his first feature film”she said, before thanking all the technicians and actors, with “a strong thought to all those who lost their lives”.

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Standing ovation at the FIFM for Moroccan cinema icon Farida Benlyazid – Le Desk