Synopsis by Mark Deming
Between 1956 and the end of the 1980s, approximately 30,000 Moroccan citizens disappeared at the hands of government intelligence operatives. After Morocco won its independence from France, the nation's new leadership sought to stamp out dissent, and as a consequence tens of thousands of people who spoke out against the government or simply questioned its actions found themselves tossed into secret jails, subjected to torture or left behind bars for the rest of their lives. In 2004, after the abuses of the Moroccan Makhzen (ruling elite) had been exposed, King Mohammed VI established the Equity and Reconciliation Commission, in order to document the crimes of the past and to help the families of victims seek justice. Filmmaker Leila Kilani profiles four families who have called on the Equity and Reconciliation Commission to come to terms with the past in the documentary Nos Lieux Interdits (aka Our Forbidden Places). Some of the families have struggled to prove their own loyalty and patriotism after their relatives were branded traitors; some angrily insist the government must come clean about all that happened under the rule of the Makhzen, and a few surviving victims of the old régime are still too damaged by the experience to share the details of what happened. Our Forbidden Places was an official selection at the 2009 Silverdocs Film Festival.