Movie Review: Casablanca Beats | The week Great Britain

This “hip-hop flavored coming-of-age drama” follows a group of Moroccan teenagers who learn to “challenge the oppressive attitudes and hypocrisy of the adults they see all around them,” said Alistair Harkness in The Scotsman. The film is set in an arts center in a deprived suburb of Casablanca, where former rapper Anas (Anas Basbousi) has been hired to teach hip-hop to local youth. He’s an inspirational teacher, but his stubborn methods don’t sit well with the center’s administrators. Director Nabil Ayouch then hands the mic to his charismatic students (played by amateur actors), who learn to “use rap to articulate who they are while negotiating complicated family lives, religious commitments and gender inequality.”

The Arabic title of this “empowering” film translates to “raise your voice”; while in France is called the film skin and fort, meaning “high and loud,” said Mark Kermode in The Observer. Both titles sum up the “living spirit” of the film. Although it is “clear from the start” where the plot is going, the film has an “infectious energy” that draws viewers into the lives of its characters.

I’m afraid I found it trite, Robbie Collin said in the Daily Telegraph. It “consists of essentially the same three scenes in rotation”: classroom arguments over weighty issues; vignettes from students’ private lives; and writing and performance sessions “where you have to admit the results are spirited rather than gorgeous.” Casablanca beats “just about oozes with restless teenage energy and its hustle and bustle of endearing young faces,” but it’s too “relentlessly saucy,” serious, and simplistic to work. Movie Review: Casablanca Beats | The week Great Britain

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