The second feature by French filmmaker Roschdy Zem, an actor, writer, and director of Moroccan descent, this France-Morocco co-production was Morocco’s official submission this year’s Oscars and also selected for New Directors/New Films in New York. “Zem tells this story of racism, politics, and injustice with the clarity of a documentary and the pacing of a thriller ... In the summer of 1991, a wealthy widow was beaten and stabbed to death at a beautiful villa in the south of France. Omar Raddad (Sami Bouajila), the woman’s Moroccan gardener, became the prime suspect because of one bizarre clue: the words “Omar m’a tuer” — a grammatically incorrect phrase that roughly translates as “Omar has kill me” — written in the victim’s blood. Despite gaps in the investigation and no forensic evidence, Raddad was convicted and sent to prison for 18 years. Only Pierre-Emmanuel Vaugrenard, a journalist, believed in his innocence and went to work to prove it” (Film Society of Lincoln Center). “Gripping ... One of Gaul's most versatile actors, Sami Bouajila, adds another deeply felt turn to his résumé in this classically assembled crime-and-courtroom drama” (Boyd Von Hoeij, Variety). Colour, 35mm, in French and Moroccan Arabic with English subtitles. 85 mins.
"Bouajila, in particular, is excellent in the lead role, convincingly internalising complex emotions: defiance, desperation, anger, and defeat."Skinny | full review
"A very watchable performance showcase, cementing Bouajila as a formidable and highly affecting on-screen presence."Slant | full review
"Bouajila's nuanced, deeply humanistic perf ... neatly balances innocence and anger over his conviction, incomprehension and a steadfast faith in the legal system of his adopted home country."Variety | full review