Alyam Alyam (Oh the Days)

Presented at Cannes, Chicago (1978), London (1979) film festivals.

“Observation is the key to understanding the expository and visual style of Alyam Alyam. Ostensibly the story of a young Moroccan who wants to break with the traditions of peasant life and leave for ‘the city,' the film is more of an endistanced view of the way people live. However, the conflicts and dichotomies are expressed only in the words of the character, not in the images.
“There is no attempt to create artificial drama. We see what we need to see relative to the narrative being presented. In a two-way conversation, Maanouni may be content not to cut back and forth between the speaker and listener. Rather, he may leave the camera on one person throughout so that we observe an individual. These stylistic qualities create a sense of continuity, a sense of sustenance, a sense of survival.
“In the middle of the film, the hero and his mother have a talk. She begs him to ‘obey' and stick around to help her. He asks, ‘Obey against my future?' We cut to images of farm life. The objectivity of the shots suggests that the viewpoints in the film are created by individuals - not by some cold force of fate or destiny. And that's precisely what gives Alyam Alyam the extraordinary integrity that it has.”

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