Deserts pulls out the red carpet for uberization

By Etienne Sorin

Published ,

Hamid (Abdelhadi Taleb) and Mehdi (Fehd Benchemsi) in a feature film that looks like a road movie. Dulac Distribution

CRITICAL – In Morocco, two nickel-plated feet travel kilometers to extract money from over-indebted families. A film that leans towards Tati and Beckett.

Ouarzazate, Erfoud or Beni Mellal, between Marrakech and Casablanca. The filming locations of Desertsocher landscapes enhanced by the Scope format, inevitably evoke the lands and villages affected by the violent earthquake which affected Morocco on September 8.

But Deserts, presented at the last Cannes Film Festival (Filmmakers’ Fortnight) is not a postcard intended to bring tourists back en me to the kingdom. It begins with a road map blown away by the wind. Hamid and Mehdi will have to drive on sight, without GPS or moral comp. In their tired and dusty suits, the two men do not lead much. Their car is hardly any more valiant, before or after having been transformed into a convertible by an alcoholic mechanic. They work for a debt collection company, traveling miles to reach isolated villages and trying to extract money from over-indebted families.

The result is rarely convincing. At best, the two nickel-plated feet…

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