By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 11/13/2005 | 11:12 am
Marrakech---HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, who presided over a dinner offered by HM King Mohammed VI in honour of figures of world cinema on Saturday, said that the fifth Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM) 'has become a love meeting between a magical city and a devoted art'.
President of the FIFM foundation, Prince Moulay Rachid said in a message published in the festival's guidebook that the Marrakech Film Festival has become the “window for Morocco, a country firm in its values and open to the outside world.”
The Prince, who was accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses Princesses Lalla Meryem and Lalla Hasna, also highlighted the importance of cinema in bridging cultures.
At the dinner ceremony, guests were called to observe a minute of silence for Abderrahim Bouâlem and Abdelkrim El Mouhafidi, the two Moroccan employees of the Rabat embassy in Baghdad, who were kidnapped in Iraq last month.
The opening ceremony of the Marrakech International Festival, currently being held in Morocco's red city between Nov.11-19, was marked by a special tribute to the Moroccan-born actor Hamidou Benmassoud, alias Amidou, and the US Director Martin Scorsese.
Amidou, 63, made his debut in France with Madeleine Renaud and Jean-Louis Barrault in Jean Genet's 'Les Paravents' (The Screens) and had a hand in staging the controversial play in 1961.
He explored the world of Cinema thanks to French Director Claude Lelouch who gave him major roles in many of his films. He has also worked overseas along with outstanding and famous Hollywood actors including Brad Pitt, Silvester Stalone, and Michael caine.
The festival also paid tribute to legendary US film maker Martin Scorsese for his numerous masterpieces. Scorsese has been awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976 for his famous film 'Taxi driver'.
The opening of the event was marked by the screening of Stephen Frears' musical comedy, “Mrs. Henderson presents”.
The film stars Dame Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, and Will Young. Set in pre-World War II London, Mrs Henderson Presents is a loving portrayal of London's Windmill Theatre whose motto "We never closed".
This year's festival will feature 124 films, 16 in competition, including 10 first or second features, from 15 different countries.
This 5th edition will hold a panorama of Spanish Cinema. A total of 41 films, emblematic of the Spanish film production of the past fifty years, will be screened. The “carte blanche” is given to Yash Chopra, one of the hippest and trendiest directors of Indian cinema.
This year, the Festival is held in five locations. 'Le Palais des Congrès', which includes the two "Salle des Ministres" and "Salle des Ambassadeurs", is the Festival's true center. It will be restricted to international and Moroccan professionals, who will be able to discover film in and out of competition, tribute films, "special favourite" films, and Spanish Cinema Panorama.
The closing ceremony will be marked by Enrico Oldoini's film “Tredici A Tavola.”