(Oliver Laxe, Morocco/Spain/Qatar/France 2016, 96 min., DCP, Arabic w/subtitles)
Primal Screen | Rochester Premiere. A dying sheikh wishes to be buried in the legendary Moroccan city of Sijilmasa, across the majestic Atlas Mountains. The caravan is led by a young man who speaks and acts like a prophet. The group’s journey across the magnificent landscapes of North Africa looks like a modern-day version of Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God, or of a John Ford western, but has the allure of a mystical poem. The film—partly inspired by the ethnographic works of Ben Rivers—is divided in three parts, like the sections of a Sufi prayer; past and present collide in a contemplative, deeply cinematic vision (shot in breathtaking Super16mm), highly deserving the Grand Prize at last year’s Cannes Critics’ Week.
Presented by Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator, Moving Image Department.