The Mother of All Lies

Asmae El Moudir
Morocco - Qatar - Germany

Synopsis

Asmae, a young Moroccan director, goes to her parents’ place in Casablanca to help them move out. Back at her family home, she begins to sort through all the objects of her childhood. At some point, she comes across a photograph: children smiling in a kindergarten playground. At the edge of the frame is a little girl sitting on a bench, looking shyly at the camera. This picture is the only image of her childhood; the only memory her mother could give her. But Asmae is convinced she is not the child in this picture. Hoping to get her parents to talk, Asmae introduces her camera into the situation and plays with this intimate incident to examine further memories she does not trust. This photo becomes the starting point of an investigation during which the director questions all the little lies told by her family. Little by little, Asmae explores the memory of her neighbourhood and country. 

Documentary
2nd feature
Director of photography

Hatem Nachi

Editor

Asmae El Moudir

Main Cast

Abdulah, Said, Malika, Ouarda, Mohammed, Asmae

Production

Insight Films (Morocco)
Asmae El Moundir
asmae.elmoudir@gmail.com

Co-production

Soilsfilms (Germany)
Silvana Santamaria

Aljazeera Documentary (Qatar)

Director’s statement

As a young Moroccan director, I carry with me many unanswered questions. Some are personal, others political, and I want to ask them now, as both a filmmaker and a daughter, through interacting with the people closest people to me: my family. From my family’s relationships, I create a common space for The Mother of All Lies: our house in Casablanca. A place full of complicity, love, hostility and objection. 
Investigating stories of my childhood, I interact with my mother, father and grandmother. This allows me to question my memories, which are caught between fiction and reality, between truth and lies. And I show how difficult it is to build one’s identity when every memory one possesses is in doubt. 
Little by little, this narrative choice gives me the opportunity to ask my parents about the 1981 Casablanca bread riots and how they lived through that dark and little-known event in the history of Morocco. My goal is not so much to try to document the real story but rather to make a film about the multiple points of view and plurality of interpretations that co-exist regarding family and national history.

Biographies

Asmae El Moudir
Asmae El Moudir
Director & producer

Asmae El Moudir has been working in the cinema and audio-visual industries since 2010. She has directed three short fiction films, and studied at La Fémis, where she produced the award-winning Thank God It’s Friday. Staging her family in a chronicle about Friday couscous and the story of her communist Uncle Merzouk was a way for her to engage with the political repression of Morocco’s dark years. In 2014, ِEl Moudir founded the production company Insight Films, then, in 2020, she directed and produced The Postcard, her first feature-length film, which was selected for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2020, Visions du Réel, the Durban International Film Festival and the Malmö Arab Film Festival in 2021, among other festivals. She is currently working on her upcoming project The Mother of All Lies.

Total budget

€350 100 

Financing secured

€179 112

Partners attached

AFAC, IDFA Bertha Fund, Hot Docs Blue Ice Docs Fund, Doha Film Institute, IMS, CNC, Aljazeera Documentary, World Cinema Fund, CCM, La Scam

Shooting period and locations

November 2019 - November 2020, Casablanca and Marrakesh, Morocco

Expected delivery

May 2022

Stage of post-production

Beginning of post-production

Looking for

International sales and distribution companies, funding for all stages of post-production, partners from all over the world, editor, music composer, picture and sound post-production professionals (grading/mixing), graphic designers and established marketing agencies

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