Morocco’s Dakhla Film Festival Celebrates Cuban Cinema

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Rabat – The eighth International Dakhla Film Festival wrapped up on Friday, November 29 after nearly a week of festivities, featuring Cuban cinema as the guest of honor. The event in Dakhla, a peninsula in southern Morocco, began on November 24 under the patronage of King Mohammed VI.

The 2019 Dakhla Film Festival invited international celebrities, artists, filmmakers, and personalities to honor four Cuban filmmakers and pay homage to Cuban cinema. The festival honored Cuban actress Mirtha Ibarra and Cuban directors Arturo Infante, Sebastian Milo, and Ever Miranda Palacio.

Morocco’s Dakhla Film Festival Celebrates Cuban Cinema
A cinema in Havana, Cuba. Photo by Walker Evans (1933).

According to Moroccan news outlet Labass, the festival also paid tribute to Moroccan actress Fatima Zahra Bennacer, Moroccan director Kamal Hachkar, and Lebanese journalist Jamal Fayad. The cultural event is held as part of the 44th anniversary of the Green March, the source added. 

Morocco’s Dakhla Film Festival Celebrates Cuban Cinema
The 2019 Dakhla Film Festival honored Moroccan actress Fatima Zahra Bennacer (right). Photo via Labass

The festival’s president, Zine El Abidine Charafeddine, referred to the eighth installment of the event as a turning point.

Morocco and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations and exchanged ambassadors in 2017.

By electing Cuba as the guest of honor, the 2019 Dakhla Film Festival sought to strengthen relations between Morocco and Cuba

Read also: Morocco-Cuba: 37 Years of Cold Hostility

Cuban cinema emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. About 80 full-length films, primarily melodramas, were produced in Cuba by the time of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Cuba was a pioneer in the cinematic atmosphere of Latin America.

These glory days, however, have since passed due to lack of funding for cinema. Only 19 movie theaters remain in Cuba today, compared to the nearly 700 in 1953—more than New York City or Paris at the time. 

Morocco’s Dakhla Film Festival Celebrates Cuban Cinema
An abandoned cinema in Havana. Photo by Michael Eastman (2011).


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