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Ali Zaoua Review

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A pre-teen trio of Casablancan urchins in their bid to bury a mate accidentally killed in a skirmish with a rival gang of scavengers.

★★★★★

Despite exhaustive research and the casting of genuine street kids in the principal roles, Nabil Ayouch’s second feature feels more like a liberal fairy tale than a hard-hitting social tract. It follows a pre-teen trio of Casablancan urchins in their bid to bury a mate accidentally killed in a skirmish with a rival gang of scavengers.

Ayouch wavers between exposing the boys’ desperate existence and reassuring the viewer with little glints of optimism that will culminate in the sentimentally symbolic finale. Yet the performances are wholly committed, with Hicham Moussoune doing a nice line in blind faith buoyancy, while Said Taghmaoui contributes some much-needed menace as the scarfaced Fagin of the rubbish dumps.