The movie

The Blue Caftan

A warmly poignant film in which you see that love has all kind of different forms.

Length: 123 min
Country: Marokko
Language spoken: Arabisch
Language subtitles: Nederlands
Cast: Lubna Azabal, Ayoub Messiou, Saleh Bakri
Director: Maryam Touzani
Release date: 23/03/2023


Mina and Halim run a clothing business in the old Moroccan town of Salé. As a producer of hand-made caftans, the taciturn, impassive Halim is the keeper of a vanishing tradition. But he shoulders another burden. A closeted gay man, he has trysts with strangers in the local hammam, a habit that his dissatisfied if loving wife Mina is seemingly aware of. When Youssef, an observant young man, is hired as an apprentice at the shop, the uneasy equilibrium between the couple comes undone.

Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan is an understated chamber piece revolving around unspoken tensions between its three central characters. This latent turmoil allows Touzani to dial down the psychosexual drama and sublimate it in an atmosphere of generalised eroticism. Everyday gestures, from the peeling of tangerines to the embroidery of cloth, become animated by an undercurrent of repressed desire. Shot by Virginie Surdej in the manner of Dutch still-life paintings, the objects in the film acquire a voluptuousness that expresses the unvoiced yearnings of the characters.

The Blue Caftan is powered by the admirable performances of its three leads, Lubna Azabal, Saleh Bakri and debutant Ayoub Missioui, whose movement and action Touzani stylises in keeping with the measured pace and reserved atmosphere of her film.