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1000 Months Review

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Set in Morocco at the start of the 1980s, at the beginning of the religious month of Ramadan, the film follows the misfortunes of a family living in a village at the heart of the Atlas Mountains.

★★★★★

First-time Moroccan feature director Faouzi Bensaïdi has adopted the always engaging storytelling aesthetic: show don’t tell. Set in Morocco at the start of the 1980s, at the beginning of the religious month of Ramadan, the film follows the misfortunes of a family living in a village at the heart of the Atlas Mountains.

After her husband is imprisoned for an unspecified crime, Amina moves in with her father-in-law, Ahmed, taking her young son, Mehdi, with her. The adults hide the truth about his father from Mehdi, who takes to his new life well enough. Maintaining the lie and the delicate balance of their lives proves problematic, however.

With minimal dialogue, lengthy fixed takes, long shots and a narrative that wanders from one character to the next and back again, 1000 Months (which takes its title from a prayer) is a challenging and, ultimately, rewarding drama.

Slow-moving and introspective it may be, but this could serve as a fine introduction to Moroccan cinema.