Friday, June 14, 2024

Oscar shortlisted film The Blue Caftan takes a look at taboo male love

Film Forum will present the US theatrical premiere of Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan on Friday, February 10, dealing with unspoken male love in Morocco.

What’s it about? Halim and Mina run a traditional caftan store in one of Morocco’s oldest medinas. To keep up with the commands of the demanding customers, they hire Youssef, a talented apprentice dedicated to learning the art of embroidery and tailoring from Halim. The two men form a deep and intimate bond. Gradually, Mina realizes how much her husband is moved by the presence of the young man. The emotions between the three are as nuanced and delicate as the caftans they make in a Muslim country that criminalizes same-sex relationships. The men’s bond is counterpointed with the traditional art of caftan-making, which is being overtaken by machines.

The Blue Caftan won the International Critics’ Prize at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, the top prize for International Feature at New York’s Newfest, and is shortlisted for Best International Feature Film at the 2023 Academy Awards. The Blue Caftan is Morocco’s Official Selection for Best International Feature at the 95th Academy Awards.

David Rooney, in The Hollywood Reporter, wrote: “A film of exquisite sensuality…its supple rhythms hypnotic, its atmosphere potent and its prevailing hushed tone and intimate camerawork affording us the closest possible access to three characters who in turn are constantly studying one another… A film of overwhelming tenderness — in exchanged glances or tactile moments as fleeting as one hand lightly touching another.”

The Blue Caftan opens in theaters on February 10 starting with a screening at Film Forum, New York City, with other cities to follow.

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