The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (formerly the Middle East International Film Fest), opening today and running through October 22, is committed to presenting works by Arab filmmakers in competition alongside the major talents of world cinema. The Festival and MUBI are presenting a feature film you can now watch for free.
"A historical fiction, [Hisham Lasri's] The End opens in July 1999, on the eve of the death of Morocco's longtime monarch Hassan II (1961-99), whose demise marked both the end of an era as well as the filmmaker's childhood," writes Sally Shafto in Senses of Cinema. "The film tells the story of a marginalized youth, M'key, in search of a father figure, who falls in love with Rita, a young woman whose virginity is ensured by her gang-member brothers by keeping her enchained. M'key is the protégé of Daoud, the police commissioner whose nickname is 'the system's pit-bull' and who was responsible for torturing and killing, years before, Rita's father. Daoud appears to be a stand-in for Hassan II, seen here as a kind of super cop. During his reign, known as the period of lead, Hassan II imprisoned many political dissidents. The End definitely merited its Special Award, because Lasri has attempted something ambitious with his first film. [Critic] Mohamed Dahan calls The End an example of 'the new Moroccan cinema, light-years away from the "cinema du Papa" and the reasonable tone of Morocco's first filmmakers.'"