Movement Director Nadir Bouhmouch
Movement Director Nadir Bouhmouch

The unifying force of a common struggle

activism: Movement is a lyrical and beautifully filmed piece of political propaganda - with a Moroccan twist.

Holdsworth is a writer, journalist and filmmaker.
Published: 2019-12-31

Nadir Bouhmouch (Morocco and Qatar)

#Nadir Bouhmouch # s Movement is a beautifully filmed poetic walk through the lives of poor Moroccan villagers depicting their defiant opposition to a silver mine that both steals the land from them and poison the earth with cyanide. It all stands as a school example of the many underreported cases in which small communities protest the environmental damage of the wealthy elite - and here Movement on hope and encouragement as well as a host of colorful personalities. But like many others who both write and direct a single film, Bouhmouch is too close to his own material.

Movement on the Road '96

The film begins in the dry, dusty and blown activist camp atop Alebban Mountain - a rocky gorge with panoramic views of an ocher valley and toward distant mountains where "Africa's seventh largest silver mine" hides. In stone cottages, villagers have kept watch here since 2011: Then they closed the crane on the now rusted pipeline that had for many years led the necessary water up to the silver mining operation.

In 2011, the soil in Imider was poisoned by cyanide leaks.

The water source - which is built into a concrete tank - lies within the confines of Imider, a small village down in the valley, where the inhabitants have carved a life. Meanwhile, a fertile little patch of almond trees and barley fields are in a protected corner by the ruins of a French colonial fort. The village experienced that the wells ran out of water after the mid-80s began intense pumping activity for the silver mines.

The first round of protests started in 1996, and it is from there that the village activists brought the name to the movement: Movement on the Road '96. Martyrs of the time - men who were imprisoned or killed in fighting with the police - still enjoy respect and admiration. Bouhmouch does not provide details of what happened during these protests, but takes us back to 2011 - when the earth was poisoned by cyanide leaks and the almond trees withered, and resistance flared up again. This time the villagers took the matter into their own hands - they closed the crane attached to the pipeline and occupied the Alebban hill.

Their story is told through the locals' own words, songs, poems and local events, including a delightful open-air spring party, where parents and their children perform small ...

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