The Mother of All Lies

Filmstill The Mother of All Lies

The Mother of All Lies

Kadib abyad
Asmae El Moudir
Audience Competition 2023
Documentary Film
Saudi Arabia
97 minutes
German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing, English

Traumas have often inspired filmmakers to contrast a documentary narrative with visual alienations. Asmae El Moudir chooses the form of a doll-populated miniature of the Casablanca neighbourhood where she grew up. In 1981, before she was born, a massacre took place there. The police and the Moroccan king’s military forces shot hundreds of participants of the so-called bread riots, who were protesting against continuously rising food prices. The detailed small-scale models – El Moudir’s father, a bricklayer, built the big versions with stone and cement! – may illustrate the events, but they also mark the distance to a history that lacks images and has long been concealed in Morocco.

The lack of images is mirrored in the family context. Why are there no childhood photos of her, the director wonders. Why does her mother finally present her with a single picture which, however, shows another girl? This film, cleverly constructed in every respect, finally gathers the family members around the miniatures of their neighbourhood. The constellation does not promise a collective truth, but, at least, a dispute of memories.

Jan-Philipp Kohlmann

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Asmae El Moudir
Hatem Nechi
Asmae El Moudir
Asmae El Moudir
Mark Lotfy
Abdelaziz Glassine
Sound Design
Michael Fawzy
Nass El Ghiwane
World Sales
Andrea Hock
Winner of: Golden Dove (Audience Competition)