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Friday, November 22, 2013

Trances (1981) d. Ahmed El Maânouni

Movie Review
Trances (1981)
 d. Ahmed El Maânouni
Criterion Collection #689
Criterion Collection/World Cinema Foundation edition released December 10th, 2013

  With two films from Turkey and this film from Morocco, the wider Islamic world is well represented in the batch of World Cinema films being released by Criterion Collection in a collected set on December 10th, 2013.  Trances is about popular Moroccan musicians Nass El Ghiwane.  What is amazing about this film is that it's a documentary about popular music in an Islamic/Arabic country- the only other film of that sort I can remember seeing is a Vice documentary about Heavy Metal in Iraq and Syria, but this is obviously several classes up from that.

 You can be forgiven if you have never heard of Nass El Ghiwane.  They don't have a rerelease going, there is no Pitchfork coverage of them.  That may actually change after this movie comes out, but maybe not, since it has been streaming on Hulu Plus for a minute and only 4 people like it on Facebook.

 Trances has a ton of performance footage, some random shots of Morocco, discussions between band members about stuff and like a love story or something between the main guy and this hot Moroccan chick.  It's pretty uh.... non-Muslim.  I'm sorry but the Muslim world has such a bad rap when it comes to art and modern artistic culture that it's almost stunning to learn a band like Nass El Ghiwane actually exists.

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