THE BLUE CAFTAN
MARYAM TOUZANI | FRANCE, MOROCCO, BELGIUM + DENMARK | 2022 | 118 MIN | ARABIC S.-T.EN.
In Morocco’s official Oscars entry, Halim’s adoring and well-adored wife grows more ill while the need to complete a client’s lavish, “petroleum blue” caftan grows more urgent, as does Halim’s desire for the skilled apprentice who has big brown eyes only for him.
Halim (Saleh Bakri) has a well-worn routine in a Moroccan medina: long hours with pushy customers; sexual release with men in bathhouses; home to a loving, albeit strained, evening with his ailing wife, Mina (an unforgettable Lubna Azabal). It’s only a matter of time before this delicate stitching comes undone. “It’s all over,” Mina snarls. She means his profession, hand-made garments grown obsolete in a machine-made world, but it’s also true of the silence surrounding the palpable romantic tension between Halim and his mentee, Youssef (Ayoub Missioui). The central marriage, the hesitant gay romance, and the film itself are like painstakingly woven garments, approached with patience and care. This passionate slow burn is finely crafted with sumptuous colours and a tactile closeness – the winding of thread, the piercing of cloth. A counterpoint to death, which The Blue Caftan reveals can be both dignified and uncommonly joyous.
screening at Cinéma Impérial only | NOVEMBER 19TH 9PM