The Mother Of All Lies
Day 9 at MAMI was one of the most fruitful days for me given that I got to watch 3 films from the Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards. And while I have reviewed one of them in the form of The Monk And The Gun, and I shall be covering the third one, The Delinquents tomorrow, I also got an opportunity to watch an Arabic film, The Mother Of All Lies which is Morocco’s Official Entry to the Academy Awards this year. We at Popcorn Reviewss believe in inclusivity, and that is one of our reasons to explore more and more content from across the globe. Personally, it has helped me to get a peek into the different cultures that co-exist across the globe while also allowing me access to the History which may have shaped the nation, something which isn’t covered in our History textbooks. And The Mother Of All Lies was one such film that promised a similar movie watching experience. So then does The Mother Of Lies manage to impress, let’s find out.
Story & Screenplay
The Mother Of All Lies is a docu-drama wherein the filmmaker traces some of the memories from her childhood by crafting miniature clay figurines while drawing parallels to the ill-fated massacre that had transpired in the 1980s in Casablanca, Morocco. Now, it took me a while to settle in to the story, simply because the format of the story being told through miniature clay figurines was completely new to me. Yet, with every passing minute I could comprehend the suppressed angst of the characters who had gone through a lot during the infamous incident from the 1980s. Yet, the memories and perspectives about the same incident differs from person to person. The screenplay standing at a taut length of 90 odd minutes doesn’t overstay its welcome, and instead presents a dark chapter from the country of Morocco which most people from that generation would want to forget! And it made me teary eyed while being enraged when I read about it(more on that later).
The drama sets foot by establishing the motivation of the filmmaker for making this documentary. She didn’t have a photograph from her childhood, on the pretext that her grandmother had prohibited the same during the formative years. A curious soul, she decided to reunite her entire family and construct her memories through the miniature clay figurines, each of which represent the times in her childhood. While the drama does begin with fun and games, the gears change into something very serious and gut-wrenching!
The proceedings are interesting and engrossing, particularly with the tonal shift that the docu-drama has while integrating a dark chapter from the history of the country. The characters present their accounts of the traumatic massacre, and the same got me fuming with anger knowing that power can and will always be misused, at the behest of people who are at the bottom of the food chain. Yes, it happens everywhere and humanity has learnt nothing even while finding itself in 2023! But what was hard-hitting was the elaborate descriptions that did paint a haunting picture in the minds of the viewers, something that left me teary eyed as well. By the end of the film, I was deeply disturbed while making me ponder on the atrocities that people might be subjected to, this very minute across the globe.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The lines are the backbone of this film given that none of the events of the film are reconstructed, while relying only on the lines presented while showcasing the clay miniature version of the characters back in the era. So it is important that you pay attention to the same, and allow the lines to grapple you during its narrative. I wuite liked the BGM that represented the rooted culture of Morocco even while implying on the different moods of the film. The visuals paint a haunting picture of the events that may have transpired, thus making for a solid impact. Director Asmae El Moudir does a wonderful job in constructing a drama which was integral to her childhood as well as her country’s dark chapter of history. The balance and the parallels drawn were quite good and by the end of it, I was overwhelmed and in tears!
I was reading about the Bread Riot that had transpired in 1981 in Casablanca, and that was indeed a sad event considering several children lost their lives. The dead bodies were taken away while not allowing the families to even mourn their deaths. And the retaliation was just for the hike in the price of food which really made me sad and angry. The use of power by the authorities was rather abysmal and rather enraging. Yet, the question that needs to be asked is whether humanity has learnt anything at all? There are two wars on(and countless civil wars) across the globe, and with dosens dying, will sanctity ever prevail? Hope peace is restored soon and people start to adapt compassion again!
As a part of our MAMI coverage, Morocco’s Official Entry to the Academy Awards this year, The Mother Of All Lies is a hard-hitting docu-drama that left me teary-eyed and enraged, making it a powerful watch.