The Damned Don't Cry

2022 [ARABIC]


Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 95% · 19 reviews
IMDb Rating 6.7/10 10 234 234


Top cast

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1018.97 MB
Arabic 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 4
2.05 GB
Arabic 5.1
24 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 16

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by scaryjase-06161 4 / 10

What am I supposed to like here?

Another French language film - someone at The Guardian REALLY likes them. And I for one can't wait to learn all about a poverty-stricken Moroccan family...

We follow Fatima-Zahra (Aicha Tebbae) and her teenage son Selim (Abdellah El Hajjouji) as they try to fashion a living under somewhat dubious and straitened circumstances, which are not overly explained at the beginning. And then they are and you immediately have a lot more sympathy for them (although it really only poses more questions than it answers). And basically they then go to Tangiers and stuff happens to them, most of which means that you quickly lose any sympathy you might have had for them. And a lot of it makes absolutely no sense at all - and so it continues, until the film ends (in a way that I didn't overly understand).

Considering I took the title to mean something along the lines of "beggars can't be choosers", both of the main characters spend an awful lot of time looking gift horses in the mouth or being incredibly judgemental about each other - Fatima-Zahra in particular is an absolute nightmare. Whenever things seem like they might be looking up for either of them, they either self-sabotage or ruin things for the other one - I can't say I'm overly up on the social or political situation, but it all feels a bit unnecessary and overly dramatic to me.

Within the context of two pretty unlikeable main characters, the acting is fine if unremarkable - I'd say Abdellah does the better job of the two given he's quite a tempestuous character and it would be easy to go over the top and he doesn't. I'd also call out Moustapha Mokafih who plays a sympathetic character caught up with them, but no-one is dreadful and IMDB (there's no Wikipedia entry for the film, which is rare) suggests that it's the first film for most of the actors. It's not a first film for Fyzal Boulifa the film's writer and director though - I'd say the camerawork is unflashy and competent and there are more locations used in the film than I was expecting.

But - it's basically a couple of unlikeable characters in unbelievable or incomprehensible (yes, I'm willing to accept this could well be my fault!) scenarios so I'm not sure any amount of acting or direction could rescue it for me. It's not a dreadful film but I've no idea why anyone would want to watch it or why The Guardian were so fulsome in their praise for it. But if you really want to, it's available to stream on BFIPlayer or to rent in all the usual locations - just don't say I didn't warn you.

Reviewed by / 10

Reviewed by laduqesa 9 / 10

Extraordinarily accomplished

As an expat living in Morocco, this film said so much to me. Parts of my life were here in myriad previous experiences as were those of many of my friends and acquaintances both local and foreign.

Moroccan-language films have never been afraid to tackle controversial subjects but rarely have prostitution, adultery and homosexuality been so openly portrayed. For those not familiar with the country, all three can be subject to swingeing penalties, although the cops rarely make it their business to pursue such "crimes".

So much was true to life here. The daily struggle to survive of a single mother who is aging and losing her allure was convincing. Aïcha Tebbae as Fatima-Zahra portrayed unflinchingly and accurately the life of a fading beauty, now blowsy and covered in slap, her dyed hair giving the game away that she's a good-time girl. Abdellah El Hajjouji playing Selim, a first-time actor like Tebbae, was perfect as an uneducated youth questioning his sexuality and slowly acting on it. Hints of this appeared early in the film when Abdou and he congratulated each other for being "bogosses". Moroccan guys just don't do this for fear of appearing faggy or implying that the other guy is. Selim acted in all ways like the unreflective lad he was, running away, shouting, questioning, lying, stealing. His relationship with Sébastien developed until the end of the story, opening up more possibilities.

Another truism in the story was the exploitative relationships between locals and foreigners. "Christians" were there to make money out of from the point of view of Moroccans. The locals had a subservient place according to the expats. This colonial-style hangover is slowly fading fortunately as Morocco modernises and thrusts its own way into the world stage. However, betrayal by Moroccans of other Moroccans was portrayed too. I should have seen the final call-boy result coming.

The ending of the film was heartbreaking for mother and son. Both had their faults and mistakes. I don't want to leave spoilers but for me, the finale was pessimistic in terms of their future together.

There was so much in this film and so many themes that the writers and director drew together into a coherent whole. I don't see how this opus could have been bettered.

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