‘Rising Voices’ (‘Le Chant des Hommes’): Marrakech Review

Refugees from Congo, Syria and elsewhere go on hunger-strike seeking Belgium’s protection.

A claustrophobic play that couldn’t presumably be some-more timely, Mary Jimenez and Benedicte Lienard’s Rising Voices puts viewers inside a craving strike mounted by refugees seeking papers that will concede them to stay in Brussels and find legitimate jobs. Focusing on a trivia of creation such a criticism work with a rope of immigrants from all over a world, it feels some-more like an garb melodramatic square than an agenda-driven film, and a screenplay pushes slogans aside in preference of insinuate personal concerns. The suave film stands out among a new titles in a Marrakech lineup, and binds clever interest for a fest circuit; a intelligent boutique distrib could make a U.S. arthouse run worthwhile.

We skip over a origins of this strike and whatever protests brought a different organisation together, starting in medias res in a church where they wish to attract a government’s attention. Kader (Assaad Bouab), a Moroccan, and an Iranian lady named Esma (Maryam Zaree) are a organizers, entertainment income to buy reserve for strikers who pronounce a half-dozen languages and aren’t all capable in a ways of criticism movements.

But a dual leaders aren’t on a same page. Esma is earnest, saying strikers’ self-denial as remuneration for leisure to come; Kader is personally holding income from unfortunate people who aren’t partial of a craving strike, earnest to hide their names onto a group’s list when officials determine to emanate them all papers.

That list is something of a diseased mark for a film, as viewers might have a tough time following because it is being kept tip and how it is compromised over a march of a strike’s several weeks. But energy dynamics aside, a film succeeds in display a empty those prolonged weeks put on people who have small in common though a fact that they can’t go home and can’t discount with anything though their lives. Stuck here on a cots with them, we share dreams about what they’ll do once they have papers; hear stories about a terrible things they’ve experienced; and, of course, fantasize about a dishes from their several homelands they pain to prepare for themselves.

The city outward ceases to exist (and could be usually about any Western metropolis), as tightly-framed shots keep us inside a church and usually go out when Kader and Esma do. We don’t know how a press is stating a strike, either adults support protesters or how immigration officials have responded. Only once, three-quarters of a approach by a story, does a film deliver a voice from a halls of power, a Minster of Foreigners whose face betrays small feeling for those whose lives hang on her judgment. Though this is temporarily a whole universe for them, for her it is usually another predicament to conduct — and one that, as a film eventually finds, will finish with usually about everybody feeling they’ve lost.


Production company: Tarantula

Cast: Maryam Zaree, Assaad Bouab, Ahmet Rifat, Sam Louwyck, Zeinabou Diori, Pitcho Womba Konga, Duraid Abbas, Saida Manai

Directors-Screenwriters: Benedicte Lienard, Mary Jimenez

Producers: Joseph Rouschop, Valerie Bournonville, Donato Rotunno

Director of photography: Hichame Alaouie

Production designer: Marc Ridremont

Editor: Marie-Helene Dozo

Composer: Catherine Graindorge

Venue: Marrakech International Film Festival (Coup de Coeur)

Sales: Tarantula


In French, English, Arabic, Dutch, Farsi

100 minutes