Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Mimosas

Reviews - Mimosas


Reviewed By Carol Rennie

Directed by Morocco-based Spanish director Oliver Laxe, and using non-professional actors appearing under their own names, Mimosas is decidedly of the 'slow-film' genre, appealing only to that small proportion of film-goers who enjoy the weightless sensation of disassociation, and detachment from plot and humdrum matters such as food, or sleep, in favour of immersion in the expansive, desolate landscape of the Atlas mountains, and observation, often from a distance, of ant-like figures moving through what feels more like an ethnographic documentary than a film-story.  

There is a plot of sorts: Ahmed and Said, two men of dubious motives, attached to a caravan of travellers accompanying a dying sheikh on a treacherous mountain journey to his home town, are transformed into men with a truly honourable mission when the sheikh dies en-route, and the rest of the caravan disperse. Under the erratic guidance of a holy fool, Shakib, who joins them, angel-like, from a vintage taxi-pool in some other temporal and spatial Morocco which appears now and then throughout the film, they take it upon themselves to accompany the body to its destination, meeting en-route with an old man and his mute daughter, in heroic and reckless defense of whom the prophet-like Shakib and irreligious Ahmed charge to almost certain death in the film's denouement: "With love!"

Laxe describes his Sufi-like narrative as more about faith than religion. Shakib, the very strange young man, spurs his companions on with invocations of Islam, textually inaccurate and almost comically embodied in gestures, but it is his intensity, candour, and earnest demeanour that shine through the film, telling us to be strong, not to give up, and to have faith. It was certainly good for this film-goer to hear the phrase, so familiar and everyday to any Arabic ear, "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great), as an expression of joy and relief, when the men spy some company in the mountains - a phrase known to so many Westerners now only through its corrupted co–option by jihadi terrorists.

Not the most popular of Film Club screenings to date, but a very evocative 93 minutes.

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