New film by Nabil Ayouch released today at the cinema, Haut et Fort results from a desire to give voice to Moroccan youth through hip-hop. DashFUN met the director and the artist and main actor Anas Basbousi.
Cry from the heart of Moroccan youth through rap and hip-hop, Haut et Fort marks the return of Nabil Ayouch, known for his films crying out for the truth about Moroccan society. The strength and wisdom of Anas Basbousi, artist working for culture and community, allows him to embody a mentor for young people in a cultural center in a popular district of Casablanca.
After being presented at the Cannes Film Festival where it was in competition, Haut et Fort is now released in cinema and will charm with the vitality of the troupe of young artists, the benevolent gaze of Anas Basbousi, the powerful staging of Nabil Ayouch and the brilliant slams punctuated by the musical compositions of Mike and Fabien Kourtzer.
DashFUN: How did you meet and where was this film Haut et Fort born?
Nabil Ayouch: I had wanted for a long time to make a film on youth, on music as a means of expression. One day, in one of the cultural centers that I created with my Ali Zaoua foundation in Morocco, Anas arrives with a past as a former rapper and a desire to continue transmitting hip-hop values to young people.
It caught my attention, I watched it for a year, I attended classes, concerts and shows. I found that he knew how to convey very well and that he had young people in front of him who have a crazy talent so I asked to meet them and find out where these texts came from. The meeting lasted several hours and I was deeply moved and with the desire and the deep conviction that this would be my next film.
Anas Basbousi: I worked in the center for a long time and I had the opportunity to meet Nabil several times and to exchange with him. The idea of this film spoke to me immediately and represents the work I do with these young people at the center.
What was your background, Anas, before this film?
Anas Basbousi: I discovered hip-hop through bakset-ball and I started a career as an amateur rapper in 2003. I tried several times to go pro by doing a lot of projects and touring Europe. . I was able to meet artists to see the level of this artistic discipline. I was interested in the historical side of this culture, of its origin.
It allowed me to understand a lot of things and to see how much she can change lives. I struggled for a few years before meeting Nabil and the center who welcomed me with open arms and gave these young people their chance.
Nabil, what did Anas bring to the film that was important?
Nabil Ayouch: I asked Anas a lot of things about credibility, how to talk about certain things. I wanted history, because the idea, you understood it, is not to make a film on hip-hop but to make a film on hip-hop as a means of expression and about what young people have to say, but hip-hop is an instrument that Anas knows and owns perfectly. It is more this role that he played, of advice and guidance.
You’ve managed to bring together a really charismatic and endearing group of young people in this film. Where do they come from ?
Nabil Ayouch: They almost all come from the Positive School of Hip-Hop that Anas set up. It is them that I observed during this whole period. When I started writing the film and it started to prepare, I still wondered whether I shouldn’t expand the cast. And Anas gave me a hell of a hand on that, he toured Morocco.
We saw 800 young people to eventually return, with one or two exceptions, to the hip-hop class at the center. I believe that there is nothing that replaces the group, there is nothing that replaces the duration. These young people live in this neighborhood, they have this knowledge of reality. Anas managed to build group cohesion with them, a solidarity that we feel in the film.
That’s what Anas wants to look for, it’s this conscious rap. You have to go and tap into your resources to tell who you are.
What was the workload for the musical sequences. How were they prepared and worked?
Nabil Ayouch: There were a lot of rehearsals, a lot of preparations beforehand on the choreographies with a choreographer who worked for months with the dancers. Anas worked with them all the slams, all the rap sequences, he wrote the lyrics with them so that they were close to them and to their reality.
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