À Casablanca les Anges Ne Volent Pas (2004)

Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - Italy, Morocco  |  
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Three men balance small-town dreams against big-city realities in this comedy drama, the first feature film from director and screenwriter Mohamed Asli. Said (Rachid El Hazmir), Ismail (Abdessamed Miftah El Kheir), and Ottman (Abdelaziz Essghyr) are three men from a small village in North Africa who have come to the big city of Casablanca in hopes of finding their fortune; as it happens, they all end up working in the same cafe, where the owner (Abderrazak el Badaoui) treats them with thinly veiled contempt and pays them subsistence wages. Said is trying to save up money to send home to his expectant wife, Aicha (Leila El Ahyani), but there's barely enough to pass along, and he becomes more and more lonely, while Aicha has a hard time staying in touch with him -- she doesn't know how to write, and had a hard time accessing the village's only telephone. Ottman's pride and joy before he left the village was his fine Arabian stallion; now that he's gone, his mother wants him to sell the horse so she can pay her bills, but the notion rubs Ottman the wrong way. And while Ismail is delivering an order one day, he sees a fine pair of new shoes in a shop window and decides he must find a way to buy them, certain that they will change his life even though the price is far outside his budget. À Casablanca les Anges Ne Volent Pas was screened as part of the "Critics Week" series at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival