Screening: "Casanegra" - directed by Nour-Eddine Lakhmari

Wed, February 24, 2010 7:00 pm at Tribeca Cinemas

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Morocco, 131 min, 2009, Arabic with English subtitles

Tickets: $10, at door, or online (with surcharge)

For trailer, click here

With: Anas Elbaz, Omar Lotfi, Mohamed Benbrahim, Ghita Tazi, Driss Roukhe, Hassan Skalli, Raouia, Haitham Idrissi.

Nour-Eddine Lakhmari's feature, "Casanegra," is a cross between classic film noir and "Mean Streets," a dark tale of two small-time hustlers with big dreams looking to escape their dead-end lives in Casablanca. Lakhmari has crafted memorable portraits of not-so-quiet desperation, helped considerably by cinematographer Luca Coassin's tonally muted but intense visuals.

A terrific credits sequence, all neon signs in 1940s typeface, prepares the way for a style and story indebted as much to Anthony Mann as to Martin Scorsese. Karim (Anas Elbaz) and Adil (Omar Lotfi) are just past 20, looking for fast wealth through shady deals. "Casanegra" captures Moroccan dissatisfaction in such a hip way that some snatches of dialogue have become the nation's latest street lingo. Part of the appeal is attributable to the two leads, both non-professionals who convey a nervous vulnerability beneath their tough-guy shells.

Shooting on location and mostly at night, Coassin and Lakhmari capture not merely the city but its tarnished yet still attractive soul in true film-noir fashion. Colors have been drained so that the visuals appear as close to black-and-white as possible. Sarah Mouta's editing is sharp and considered, with Richard Horowitz's jazzy score forming the ideal accompaniment.

About the Director:

Nour-Eddine Lakhmari was born in Safi, Morocco, in 1964. He moved to France to stury pharmacology, but quickly changed paths to pursue his passion: film. His first short films shot in Oslo, earned him the admission to The Oslo Cinema Academy. His first feature film “Le regard” was released in 2005 to wide critical acclaim in Morocco and Scandinavia.

Last updated: 2010-02-02 15:44:13

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