Ali Zaoua

Ali Zaoua
Nabil Ayouch
France, Morocco
Nabil Ayouch / Nathalie Saugeon
Mounïm Kbab / Mustapha Hansali / Hicham Moussoune / Abdelhak Zhayra / Saïd Taghmaoui


Ali, Omar, Kouka and Boubker have spent years living on the streets of Casablanca. Every day, these twelve-year-old ‘chemkaras’ as they are known, have to fight for survival in a hostile world in which they are confronted with violence, poverty, prostitution and indifference on a daily basis. Their only comfort is to sniff the odd tube of glue. That, and the strong bond of friendship between them. Then, one day, during a fight with a rival group,Ali is hit and killed by a stone flung at him by the group’s leader.This senseless killing leaves his friends at a loss. What should they do? Should they leave his body where it is? Or should they tell the police so that they can bury it any old place? “He may have lived like a piece of dirt“, decides Kouka, “but he will not be buried like that“. And so the friends hide Ali’s body at the docks, intending to bury him ‘like a prince’ within the next few days.They break the news to Ali’s mother, a prostitute working in a bar and tell her of their plans. They ask her to come to the funeral, even though she hasn’t seen her son in years. They set about raising the money needed to pay the man who will say the last rites and to buy the sailor’s uniform Ali always dreamed of owning, so that he could one day sail off to the island with “two suns”...

Festivals & Academy awards and others

Berlin International Film Festival 2001