Ali Zaoua, prince de la rue (Ali Zoua: Prince of the Streets)

Ali, Kwita, Omar and Boubker are street kids. The daily dose of glue sniffing represents their only escape from reality. Since they left Dib and his gang, they have been living on the portside of Casablanca. They live in constant fear of Dib's revenge. Ali wants to become a sailor - when he was living with his mother, a prostitute, he used to listen to a fairy tale about the sailor who discovered the miracle island with two suns. Instead of finding his island in the dream, Ali and his friends are confronted with Dib's gang. Matters are getting serious.

Real Casablanca street children ("chemkaras") play the lead roles and these kids perform magnificently. As they try to deal with the death of their leader and friend and attempt to find a way to bury him fittingly, their life in the streets and their characters are revealed with sensitivity, depth and gritty realism. These kids have lived hard lives and it shows on their faces and in their eyes and is reflected in their sincere and memorable performances.

The four children who star in this film are: Mounim Kbab, Mustapha Hansali, Hicham Moussone and Adbalhak Zhayra.

Brilliantly directed by Nabil Ayouch, this film surely ranks with "Pixote" and "Salaam Bombay" in its realistic portrayal of street children and deserves to be more widely known.


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