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“Majid,” a feel-good movie with an unforeseen twist.

By CINEPHI​LE on November 10, 2011

“Majid,” a feel-good movie with an unforeseen twist by Nassim Abassi, was an unabashed audience favorite. In his first feature film, the Moroccan filmmaker incorporates the right amount of psychological drama, action and suspense – along with dabs of humor – in his tale of a 10-year-old orphan seeking his identity in a sometimes cruel environment on the streets of Mohammedia and Casablanca. Abassi also subtly plays with the audience’s sensibilities and throws in a few unresolved mysteries which remain in viewers’ minds long after the theater lights come on. Ironically, using the power of big screen filmmaking, he hones in on the equally potent significance of a small still photo, which is the centerpiece of the film.

Seeking non-professional actors for the challenging roles of the two young main characters, Abassi discovered Brahim Al Bakali performing acrobatics in the street and Lotfi Saber in an orphanage. The youngsters’ camaraderie, tenaciousness and youthful optimism grabbed the heartstrings of filmgoers right from the start.

“Majid” was the winner of the best screenplay award at the Moroccan National Film Festival 2011 and has been selected for the International Competition at CINEKID Film Festival in Amsterdam, the largest international film festival for children.

“Here is someone with a bright future and who might really make a difference,” one filmgoer said about Nassim Abassi upon leaving the theater after the San Francisco screening, which was the film’s U.S. debut.

Elaine Pasquini