Maybe the Escalier Américain or drouj merican didn't need a thorough steam cleaning for the shooting of "Goodbye Morocco," Nadir Mokneche's forthcoming film. Sometimes grungy is authentic, and if you don't have to paint on fake dirt, it's much cheaper.
The Legation's medina neighborhood was the site for some location shooting this week. We've been after the police for ages – in vain – for roving patrols to destabilize the local criminals, so the relative clout of Legation vs. film land was evident. Not only did the police post officers to keep stray pedestrians out of camera range, but the teeming traffic at this corner of the city was re-routed – a major feat of daring.
But we were happy to meet director Nadir Mokneche, whose films on contemporary Algeria are finely constructed parables on the no-man's-land of a country which hasn't found its way. It will be interesting to see what Mokneche does with Goodbye Morocco, which he has chosen to shoot in Tangier.
After the American Steps, Mokneche was off doing takes in front of the venerable Cinema Rif, now the Cinémathèque. The Cinémathèque has a great collection of film posters – going back to the Thirties – of movies shot in Tangier. Great titles like "That Man From Tangier," and plenty of cloak and dagger intrigue from World War II and Cold War days.
Now, Nadir Mokneche will have to donate a poster of Goodbye Morocco for the collection.