In Maghreb and Arab cinema, she is one of those directors who stand out (positively): Sofia Alaoui unveils a taste of her film, which won an award at the Sundance Festival.
Already noticed in 2020 for her short film It doesn’t matter if the beasts die – for which she had won the Grand Jury Prize and the César for best short film – the Franco-Moroccan director Sofia Alaoui returns with his very first feature film. Once again, his audacity and creativity have been rewarded.
Animalia (Among us) follows the journey of Itto (Oumaïma Barid), a Berber from a modest rural background who finds herself dragged down in spite of herself by the privileges of the rich family of the man she married… until the situation turns to science fiction: the fog lifts, the elements get carried away and the atmosphere becomes elusive, magnetic, shaking up the course of its destiny. All carried by a cast of mostly non-professional actors. A rather subversive cinema whose approach she recognizes:
“It was very difficult to convince people to make a film with fantastic elements. I really fought for it. (…) We have locked up Arab cinema in a dovecote: I want to fight against these stereotypes. I think cinema is especially interesting for its diversity of languages. », she said in an interview for Cineuropa.
The first images ofAnimalia (Among us) directly set the scene: supernatural and already very sensory. Sofia Alaloui prefers to add the term naturalist. No wonder then that the young woman, who grew up with the Russian cinema of Tarkovsky, was awarded the special prize by the jury of the prestigious American Festival. The visuals are already disturbing and the universe promises to be disturbing, mystical, almost metaphysical: “The physical world rests on a more complex world”, can we hear in one of the excerpts. A sentence that will make us think until the release of the film, on August 09, 2023.