”Midnight Orchestra: Coexistence between Jews and Moslem Moroccans and the Memory resilience

By on January 26, 2016

”Midnight Orchestra,” by a Moroccan-French director is screening at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2016.

The film, “Midnight Orchestra,” follows a Jewish man’s return to Morocco, where he was raised. It reveals the passion of the French-Moroccan screenwriter and director Jérôme Cohen-Oliva for Jewish music, which also pays tribute to Botbol’s musicianship.

Jérôme Cohen-Oliva is well-known for his fictional film entitled “Kandisha,” inspired by the fairytale of the mythological figure Aicha Kandisha.

Moroccan comedians Hassan El Fad and Gad El Maleh will soon be seen on screen in a new film entitled “The Midnight Orchestra” directed by Jérôme Cohen-Oliva.

The movie will shed light on the Moroccan-Jewish artist Botbol, who was one of the icons of Moroccan popular music decades ago.

French-Moroccan humorist Gad El Maleh plays the role of Micheal Botbol, who was in France and returned to Morocco in order to revive his father’s orchestra. Marcel Botbol,Michael’s father, was a prominent Moroccan-Jewish singer.

The father ordered his son to adopt the orchestra at his behest and perform at his funeral ceremony.

Deliberately, through the film, he discovers why his father, a famous musician, made his family leave the country for Israel decades before.

The director of “Midnight Orchestra,” Jérôme Cohen-Olivar, said the fictitious family’s departure reflects a real decision that many Moroccan Jews made between the 1950s and 1970s when Arab-Israeli tensions flared.

“At the peak of the community, I think it was around a quarter of a million, 250,000 Jews in Morocco, which is a lot if you count the total Jewish population – the world Jewish population,” said Cohen-Olivar, speaking by phone from Morocco.

“Right now there are about 2,000 Jews left in Morocco, which is basically nothing,” Cohen-Olivar said. “So I just ask myself this question: ‘Why?’ It’s as simple as that. So that was the springboard of my story was just, ‘Why? Why did these people leave?'”

The film was shot previously in several festivals , including in Paris and Tangier. It reflects the Jewish customs and rituals, which display coexistence between Jews and Moroccans, their tenacity to live in Morocco and the reasons for leaving.

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