Ali Zaoua: Moroccan boys’ dreams hit the wall of reality

18 09 2010

Rating: Unrated

Runtime: 99 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes: 6.3/10, 73%

Ali Zaoua is one of those movies you sometimes wish you hadn’t watched because it reminds you of the very things in life you want to ignore—child poverty. This movie has an Oliver Twist feel to it as it depicts the journey of two Moroccan street boys as they try to bury their friend who has been killed by a local gang.

While we would like the movie to be strictly about the two boys heroic acts, it is uncomfortably but skillfully intertwined with how cruel and unforgiving children can be when faced with poverty, hunger and death. The two boys are often tempted to give up or even to join the very gang that killed their friend Ali Zaoua and the movie does not shy away from issues of prostitution, “glue-sniffing” or rape which it depicts as everyday concerns for the boys.

Throughout the entire movie, the boys are trying to bury Ali Zaoua “like a prince,” emphasizing the stark contrast between their hopes and dreams and their grim and present lives. While perhaps Ali Zaoua is not the way we wish to see children depicted in any film, it is a good dose of the reality that some children face every day.

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