Still from Fyzal Boulifa's The Curse

African Shorts at Sundance 2013

 The Curse | dir. Fyzal Boulifa [UK/Morocco]

Still from Fyzal Boulifa's The Curse

Film school dropout Fyzal Boulifa is making a name for himself on the festival circuit. The Curse – which riffs on a story his mother told him about her tristes in the Moroccan desert – has already taken first prize in the 2012 Cannes Illy Best Short Film Competition, and is a favourite on the festival circuit. The film opens with Fatine lying on hard, arid land with her older boyfriend in the crook of her arm. They are saying a protracted goodbye. He is leaving for Europe and she spends their final moments together emphasising how important it is that he send for her so that she too can leave ‘this shithole’. When a little boy stumbles on their illicit meeting, they shake hands and part. But the child, quickly joined by three others (they literally come out of nowhere) will not let her forget it, threatens to tell her parents. Boulifa’s short is an eerie, tense and compelling meditation on wanting badly to leave a place, the horrifying circularity of gendered power dynamics and the knotty relationship between personal freedom and social convention. Check out his other work Whore and Burn my Body which traverse similar terrain.