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A THOUSAND MONTHS

Morocco / France / Belgium, 2003 (MIFF 2003, International Panorama)

Director: Faouzi Bensaidi

Set in 1981, A Thousand Months tells the tale of a seven-year-old boy, Mehdi, who lives in a small village, situated in Morocco's picturesque Atlas Mountains. He lives with his mother Amina, and impoverished grandfather—his father has been thrown into prison for inciting a strike, but young Mehdi has been led to believe that he is living in France. When Mehdi's visiting rights are suspended, she spirals into depression, longing for a different life. Grandfather continues working as a labourer selling their furniture to supplement his meagre income. Medhi, meanwhile, whilst normally a mischievous boy, remains reserved and distant, carrying around a wooden chair entrusted to him by his teacher. His state of mind becomes increasingly fragile, threatening to unhinge the seemingly tranquil village.

Presented in Un Certain Regard at Cannes this yean A Thousand Months won the Le Premier Regard award. This debut film is distinguished by naturalistic performances, stunning scenery and a gradual building of tension that leads to an unexpected and dramatic finale.

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