In Beyond Casablanca, Kevin Dwyer explores the problems of creativity in the Arab and African world, focusing on Moroccan cinema and one of its key figures, filmmaker M. A. Tazi. Dwyer develops three themes simultaneously: the filmmaker's career and films; filmmaking in postcolonial Morocco; and the relationship between Moroccan cinema, Third World and Arab cinema, and the global film industry. This compelling discussion of Moroccan cinema is founded upon decades of anthropological research in Morocco, most recently on the Moroccan film sector and the global film industry, and exhibits a sensitivity to the cultural, political, social, and economic context of creative activity. The book centers on a series of interviews conducted with Tazi, whose career provides a rich commentary on the world of Moroccan cinema and on Moroccan cinema in the world. The interviews are framed, variously, by presentations of Moroccan history, society, and culture; the role of foreign filmmakers in Morocco; thematic discussions of cinematic issues (such as narrative techniques, the use of symbols, film as an expression of identity, and problems of censorship); and the global context of Third World filmmaking.
A specialist on the Middle East and North Africa, particularly Morocco, Dwyer (social anthropology, American Univ., Cairo) set himself the task of investigating the complexities of creative activity in a Third World context by focusing on the Moroccan national cinema and, more specifically, on the life and career of the country's best known film director, Muhammad Abderrahman Tazi. Dwyer devotes a great deal of space and analysis to Tazi's most profitable film, À (A) la recherche du mari de ma femme (Looking for My Wife's Husband), to date the most commercially successful movie ever shown in Morocco. The analysis of this 1994 film makes it sound like a delightful Islamic romantic comedy; the plot could only occur in a Muslim context, hinging on polygamy and the three-repudiation divorce. Dwyer's treatment of Tazi's career is both detailed and contextualized. His interviews with the filmmaker sometimes seem trivial, perhaps even nit-picking, but his estimations of the general position of Third World filmmaking in world cinema, especially in competition with Hollywood, are extremely well documented. The book has copious notes and a useful bibliography. Summing Up: Recommended. Collections supporting study of world cinema at the upper-division undergraduate level and above.July 2005--R. D. Sears "Berea College "