Belgium, France, Morocco


TEA OR ELECTRICITY tells the epic story of the implementation of electricity in a tiny isolated village enclosed in the middle of the Moroccan High Atlas. Over more than three years and season after season, the director patiently reveals the outlines of the net that will inevitably end up closing on the people of Ifri. Before our eyes is drafted the image of the merciless modernity that the small village will now be connected to.

Director's Statement

Recently, crossing the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, which are in the process of being given electricity, I had a shock. One evening in a mud hut in one of these small remote villages in the valley, examining the so distinctive faces of the Berbers whose guest I was and seeing them hypnotised by a television enthroned in the centre of the room, I had the impression that I was seeing the “Hibernatus” scene again when Louis de Funès (the grandfather) wakes up aghast and finds himself right in the twentieth century! An enormous discrepancy between the people and the time they are living in, a journey through time! Since then I have been haunted by an image: the roof of a mud hut fitted with a satellite dish! Improbable juxtaposition of two symbols of two practically opposing universes: the past (which is their present), darkness, manual labour, slowness, self-sufficiency, isolation, community, crafts, impoverishment, faith, … and the present (their future?), light, mechanisation, speed, globalisation, communication, individualism, industrialisation, opulence, materialism, … What I wanted to film following the electrification of the village is precisely the encounter (the collision?) between these two worlds. And isn’t the reflection we see in these televisions in an almost troglodyte environment a bit of a reflection of ourselves? Because the story of Ifri presents us with a mirror, it shows our mutation as “modern” and “advanced” men with all that it entails, questioning: What have become our values? What did we have to set aside, or leave the way to get there? In what direction are we moving?

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Jérôme le Maire

Written by: Jérôme le Maire

Produced by: Isabelle Truc, Isabelle Mathy, Khadija Alami

Cinematography: Antoine Parouty, Jérôme le Maire, Jérôme Colin

Editing: Matyas Veress

Production Design: Jean-Pierre Garrabos, Laurence de Windt, Olivier Abrassart, Eve Commenge, Kevin Koeniger

Original Score: Christian Martin

Nominations and Awards

  • European Documentary 2012