Mimosas

Qatar, France, Morocco, Spain 2016

Synopsis

A caravan escorts an elderly and dying Sheikh trough the Moroccan Atlas. His last wish is to be buried with his loved ones. But death does not wait. The caravaneers, fearful of the mountain pass, refuse to continue transporting the corpse. Ahmed and Said, two rogues travelling with the caravan, promise to take the body to its destiny. But do they really know the way?

In another world, parallel and remote, Shakib is chosen to travel to the mountains where the caravan is. His assignment is clear: he has to help the improvised caravaneers to reach their destination. Shakib also doubts, this is his first mission.

Directors Statement

Where did the inspiration for the film come from?
When you are making a film, you expect to be transformed, to discover things, you want to “travel” on many levels. I lived in the south of Morocco where Saïd Aagli (the character with the green turban in MIMOSAS) lived. For me, during those years, Saïd was a kind of Dersu Uzala. We travelled quite a lot together.

Your film deals more with faith than religion ...
I belong to a generation that has no complexes about religious matters, we make a clear distinction between religion and religious institutions so, we do not have this need to differentiate between faith, religion and spirituality. And this also applies to artistic creation, which is a different kind of religious act. Whether directly or indirectly, the most important filmmakers of all times have made religious films, and I find it strange that today it is not so easy to make these films. We are living in complicated times where everybody avoids talking about tradition, even though avant-garde always did it. There is a lot of scepticism. To face this uncertainty I tried to venture into the essential, whether in the script or in the construction of the images. By doing so MIMOSAS became an open film that can speak to audiences from different cultures and ideologies. I think it is a positively non-territorialized film. That is why I say that MIMOSAS is a religious western – knowing that the etymological meaning of the word religion is “to rely”. It is a film of physical and metaphysical adventures. The caravan physically travels across the mountains, but the journey is an inner one as well.

What was your intention using those old taxis crossing the desert?
It is a very archetypal image, so talking about the intentions behind them would deny the power of images and cinema. An aphorism from Cioran accompanied me throughout the creation of MIMOSAS: “Between the demand to be clear, and the temptation to be obscure, impossible to decide which deserves more respect”. Of course we have the responsibility to be clear with the public but sometimes that responsibility must be taken through some obscurity and unconventionality that might amaze and move the spectator. I think the main question most filmmakers ask themselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, is “How to manifest the ineffable in cinema?” I believe that this can happen in, among others, the form of paradox. In the spiritual geometry of the images of the taxis in MIMOSAS lies the paradox I aimed for, where this faith is transmitted. I hope those images are an echo of something strange and distant.

Your film is primarily a tale, an epic story where your characters feel the faith and speak directly about it.
That is true. Shakib does it a lot. His condition as an “idiot” legitimates him in the eyes of the sceptics. “You must have faith”, he tells Ahmed when the caravan crosses the gorges of the Atlas mountains looking for a passageway. “If mules can’t make it through the path, then they will fly...”, he adds. For Shakib there is always a solution, even if mad or miraculous. The positive acceptance of problems is a form of faith. But even though his words speak about faith, it is rather his determination, his grace and innocence that transmit an idea, or a feeling of what faith is. The divine is manifested in the form of paradox, but it is mostly through love.

Biography

Oliver Laxe (born in Paris in 1982) lives and works in Morocco. His first feature-length film, YOU ALL ARE CAPTAINS, premiered at the Quinzaine des Réalisateures in Cannes in 2010, where it received the FIPRESCI award.

Filmography
2010 - YOU ALL ARE CAPTAINS
2008 - PARIS #1, short
2007 - SUENA LA TROMPETA, AHORA VEO OTRA CARA, short
2006 - Y LAS CHIMENEAS DECIDIERON ESCAPAR, with Enrique Aguilar, short
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Cast & Crew

Directed by : Oliver Laxe

Written by : Santiago Fillol, Oliver Laxe

Produced by : Felipe Lage Coro, Lamia Chraibi, Nadia Turincev

Director of Photography : Mauro Herce

Editor : Cristóbal Fernández

Production Design : Délphine De Casanove

Costume Design : Nadia Acimi

Composer : Vicente Vázquez Peleteiro

Sound Design : Emilio García

Main Cast : Shakib Ben Omar (Shakib), Said Aagli (Said), Ahmed Hammoud (Ahmed)

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Selection 2016