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KARLOVY VARY 2012

The Miscreants arrive in Czech Republic

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- Moroccan director Mohcine Besri’s The Miscreants, about the kidnapping of a troupe of actors by Islamic fundamentalists, screened at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

The Miscreants arrive in Czech Republic

The Moroccan-Swiss co-production The Miscreants, from debuting director Mohcine Besri, premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which came to a close this weekend in the Czech spa town better-known in English as Carlsbad.

The ambitious first film, part of the Forum of Independents section, tackles several thorny topics as it explores the group dynamics and variations on the Stockholm syndrome that occur after three Islamic fundamentalists kidnap a group of travelling theatre actors who are on their way to their first performance of a play they’ve been working on for two years.

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The actors are decidedly more liberal than their kidnappers, with none of the girls wearing the veil and most of them not averse to drinking alcohol or smoking hashish.

With the entire group stranded in a secluded countryside dwelling while the fundamentalists wait for instructions from their superiors, Besri has the opportunity to contrast the very different personalities of both groups. Driven to think that they’ll in all likelihood will be killed, the actors examine their priorities and try to reason with their captors in well-written dialogues that transcend their simple ideological divides. Its sympathy lies clearly with the thespians, but The Miscreants doesn’t paint the religious radicals as simple nutcases but imbues them with real personalities.

Though clearly a film of ideas, Besri doesn’t neglect the visual side either, with camerawork that is quite loose and follows the dynamics as they develop.

The film was produced by Akka Films and Fusion Films, in coproduction with Tamawayt Productions. The latter handles international sales.

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