The Blue Caftan, the look of Maryam Touzani

Picture of the film LE BLEU DU CAFTAN (THE BLUE CAFTAN) by Maryam TOUZANI © Les films du Nouveau Monde - Ali n' Productions - Velvet Films - Snowglobe

With Le Bleu du Caftan, presented at the Certain regard, Maryam Touzani signs a film about love and freedom, the freedom to be who you are and to love who you want to love.

Tell us about the genesis of your film.

During the location scouting for Adam, my previous film, I met a man in the medina of Salé who ran a ladies' hairdressing salon. I sensed something unspoken in his life, something suppressed in relation to who he was inside, and who he was trying to be in front of the world, because of his very conservative background. I found myself imagining his life. Months passed, and he was still there, resurfacing from time to time in my thoughts.

I imagined what it was like to be in the shoes of such a man, to be in constant struggle, to live a whole life in contradiction and too often in shame. What it was like to be the wife of such a man, to lead a life full of doubts, to live in dissatisfaction, or even in guilt… And almost always, in the unspoken. The unspoken, that burden so heavy to bear, so hard to break. It takes an inordinate amount of courage to face such a truth, especially in a society that can be as conservative as the one I live in.

I needed to hear this truth, to confront it. I therefore sought to talk to people who knew it. As I met more and more people, the desire became stronger and stronger to talk about these men and women who disappear or are erased.

A few words about your performers?

I had already worked with Lubna Azabal on Adam, and I knew what she was made of, I knew that she would understand and truly love Mina. When I wrote Le Bleu du Caftan, I had her face in mind, certainly because she has the same strength of character as Mina. Looking back, I think she unconsciously influenced my writing. The filming was very hard for her: while Mina was losing her life, Lubna discovered that her father was seriously ill. Lubna had the extraordinary courage to live in parallel with her character's agony and her father's end of life. It was very hard, but there was a kind of poetry in this situation, as if she was accompanying her father from a distance, as if she was experiencing death with him.

When Saleh Bakri read the script, he fell in love with the character of Halim. He understood what his heartaches were, how beautiful he was, how he had things to say to the world.  Things that, as an artist, he also wanted to defend. To play a homosexual character such as Halim in the Arab world, you need a lot of belief and courage.

Ayoub Missioui, like Saleh, has shown the same courage. Youssef, the character he plays, is his first film role. Faced with the uncertainty of the reactions that the film might provoke in Morocco, he showed total commitment. I felt very quickly that he had the maturity to