The 14th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM) kicks off

It’s that time of year.  The time when leading film stars and directors head to Marrakech for the eight-day Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM).  It’s a time to explore subjects outside of our daily lives and watch amazing art documentaries with friends.  It’s also a great opportunity to explore the rich and diverse Moroccan cinema as local films are shown in the various categories.

This year Isabelle Huppert will preside over the jury determining the top prize from the 15 competition films while tributes to Japanese cinema, Jeremy Irons, Viggo Mortensen and Adel Imam will round out the film screening selection.

Top picks (competition, non-competition and coup de coeur)

While my diary is packed preparing for an upcoming trip to Canada for the holidays, I’ve noted the following films in hopes that I may sneak them in:

Nabat
This film about the life of an older peasant women trying to support her dying husband by earning money from the sale of milk from her one cow, all the while a war if raging through her country.   My interest in peering in to the lives of others is certainly peaked.

Showtimes: Sunday 7 December at 11 a.m. at the Congress Centre’s Salle des Ministres (pass holders only) and  Monday 8 December at 6:30 p.m. at Cinema Colisee (tickets available at the box office).

Everything We Loved
The reviews of this film have me sold as does the fact that the film is set in one of the most beautiful countries on Earth, New Zealand.  Everything We Loved is writer/director Max Currie’s debut film.

Showtimes: Saturday 6 December at 3 p.m. at Congress Centre’s Salle des Ministres (pass holders only) and Sunday 7 December at 8:30 p.m. at Cinema Colisee (tickets available at the box office).

Because it’s Moroccan, and the only Moroccan film in the competition line-up, I can’t help but want to see L’Orchestre des Aveugles, a story about love, hope, and of course tradition in Morocco.

Showtimes:  Wednesday 10 December at 11 a.m. at Congress Centre’s Salle des Ministres (pass holders only) and Thursday 11 December at 7:30 p.m. at Cinema Colisee (tickets available at the box office).

I can’t wait to see A Most Violent Year, a non-competition film, about one’s man’s struggle to protect both his family and his business in the most violent and corrupt year in New York City.  The film is part of the closing ceremonies at the Palais Congres (Congress Centre) on Saturday 13 December at 6 p.m.

My top coup de coeur pick goes to The Narrow Frame of Midnight, to be screened on Monday 8 December at 5:30 p.m. at the Palais Congres (Congress Centre) and at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday 9 December at the Cinema Colisee (tickets available at the box office). The film debuted at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and tells the story of three intersecting lives.

Star-spotting
Norya aryoN’s boutique inside Le Jardin was a popular shopping destination for stars including Sharon Stone in town during the film festival in 2013.  Grab a table near the staircase leading up to the boutique for best star-spotting.  Be sure to do a bit of shopping as well – her stuff is amazing and I rarely leave empty-handed.

La Mamounia is always popular with the stars and a great place to have a glamourous drink while trying to catch a glimpse of the famous!

With the new Starbucks in central Gueliz, and the only Starbucks in town, this may be a familiar place for stars to grab a coffee between films and parties.

Venues
Competition films will premier at the Palais de Congres (Congress Centre) on Mohamed VI Avenue in Hivernage and are for festival pass holders only.

For access to competition, non-competition and coup de coeur films, head on over to Cinema Colisee just off Mohamed V Avenue to catch a show.  Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Films will screened in Jemaa el Fna including the Bollywood film Happy New Year at 7 p.m. on Saturday 6 December and is sure to be a hit with the locals who tend to love Bollywood cinema.  Other films include Far From Men will be screened as part of the hommage to Viggo Mortensen who will attend the screening in the popular square and Die Hard: 3 in the presence of Jeremy Irons.

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