“Night Walk” hits American theaters

The film “Night Walk” by Moroccan director Aziz Tazi, a Romeo and Juliet of modern times between East and West, was released on Sunday, June 13 in the United States. The preview took place at The Landmark cinema in Los Angeles and the release in Moroccan cinemas is scheduled between July and September, according to producer Mustapha Mellouk. The producers are also in advanced negotiations for a release in Turkey, the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe. The thriller features renowned actors such as Sean Stone, son of three-time Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts (Final Analysis), Patrick Kilpatrick (NCIS), famous Franco-Moroccan rapper La Fouine, Sarah Alami (Westworld), in addition to Moroccan actors Abdellah Chicha, Majid Lakroun, Yassine Benhamida, or Ahlam Zaimi. Mickey Rourke plays Gary, a neo-Nazi leader with complete control over what happens in a gang-ravaged prison. Frank is a Western journalist visiting the Middle East, where his girlfriend Sarah lives. After a tragic incident leading to Sarah’s death, Frank is wrongly imprisoned by corrupt police and, under the leadership of the prison leader (Mickey Rourke) and the protection of his Muslim cellmate (La Fouine), he reveals political machinations of the highest ranks of the US government in its quest for justice. With Night Walk, shot between Los Angeles and five cities in Morocco, Aziz Tazi is making the first Moroccan film in history to be distributed in Hollywood. The feature film debuted at the Moscow International Film Festival in 2019 and was critically acclaimed, most notably by famous Russian magazine Kinoreporter who described it as “a breath of fresh air”. Aziz Tazi indicated, in a press statement, that the screening of this feature film during this “prestigious festival, fits perfectly with the desire to show the universal image conveyed by the film on an international platform”. The film then won the prize for “Best Screenplay” and Rourke the “Best Supporting Actor” at the Prague Film Festival in 2019. According to the young director, he wanted to present through the history of this film “A real image of Arab-Muslim society, far from the clichés conveyed by Western cinematography, with characters with diverse stories and personalities who evolve in a modern and tolerant society”. In an interview with our colleagues from “Maroc Diplomatique”, the Moroccan director explains that it was a great experience to shoot in Morocco. “I was very lucky to be able to shoot in my native country where I had a lot of support whether it be from the administration which facilitated all the official procedures or the production, thanks to Global Media Africa of Mostapha Mellouk, who managed to ensure a successful shoot, ”he said. “There were of course, as in any production, many difficulties, if only from the point of view of the language for example! Since we had Moroccan team members, I had to speak to them in French and Arabic, while I had to direct my American actors in English and at one point, speak to technicians in Spanish! ”, A he clarified. And to add: “Other difficulties relate, of course, to the need to translate my vision into the time and budget allotted because we were independently financed, but we did well on this side! Finally, there was the fact that the filming took place between two continents and that it was therefore necessary to manage problems of accessibility and permanent transfer of material or information, which was not always easy ”. The producer of the film, Mostapha Mellouk, for his part, indicated that this film “portrays a positive image of Muslim society and Arab culture, while many productions place them at the center of current global issues”. He underlined that the film was “made at 90% in Morocco and had the participation of an American casting, which made it possible to benefit from a rich cinematographic experience and know-how for the Moroccan industry. the cinema”. Mickey Rourke, who has already been awarded a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, said in an interview with Good Morning Britain that “working with Aziz Tazi was a great experience”. He also wanted to salute “the enthusiasm of this young director who was only 28 years old at the time.” Mehdi Ouassat