Mohamed El Abudi: School of Hope

This text is written by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic

Morocco. Vast desert. People living under tents. And a house like a grain of sand, the grain that becomes a pearl in a shell. 

Mohamed El Aboudi comes to his native Morocco to follow a young teacher who arrives to the wasteland and tries to establish a school among the nomads – a school for children who by birth are not meant for education, yet only to repeat the lives of their fathers and mothers. This is the story of a name inscribed above the door of the small house in the desert, a name that brings joy, arouses curiosity, triggers children’s play and opens the way to new knowledge. The film introduces us to fascinating, cruel landscapes with a few people and children, while they carry together the centuries-old burden inscribed in the books of ancestral laws. Mohamed El Aboudi, with great talent of documentary observer, in a refined manner, discreetly, carefully not to interrupt the newly created sensitive bonds between the teacher and his students, reveals a whole world hidden behind tradition and customs, behind strict laws of survival. Gradually and always with respect, the author approaches school, classes and wonderful moments of school breaks, but also parents and families, their everyday routine, as well as dramatic events in which all fears about the survival of hope become fears about the survival of the community, nature, planet. Collisions of desires and prohibitions, games and obligations, joys and worries build an unusual saga of striking scenes and characters testifying how precious is the striving for new knowledge. A saga about strivings that are the only ones that truly change the world. 

An enchanting documentary made about the school as a wonderful saving oasis.

Finland, France, Morocco 2020, 78 minutes 

www.magnificent7festival.org

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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