‘The Blue Kaftan’ becomes biggest Moroccan box office hit abroad

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Maryam Toujani’s “The Blue Kaftan”, a drama revolving around the love between a closeted man and his wife, has sold more than 500,000 tickets worldwide.

The Arabic-language film, which had its world premiere at Cannes in 2022 and won the Fipresci Prize, has had more admission sales abroad than any other Moroccan film in recent history, according to French promotion organization UniFrance. “The Blue Kaftan” was particularly successful in France, where it sold 214,000 admissions, followed by the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Japan.

Produced by veteran Moroccan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch (“Casablanca Beats,” “Much Loved”), “The Blue Kaftan” stars Lubna Azabal (“Incendies”) and Saleh Bakri (“Costa Brava, Lebanon”).

The follow-up to Touzani’s Un Certain Regard titled “Adam,” “The Blue Kaftan” tells the story of Halim and Mina, a married couple who run a traditional kaftan store in Morocco’s oldest medina. To follow the orders of demanding customers, they hire Yusuf. The talented apprentice shows immense dedication in learning the art of embroidery and tailoring from Haleem. Gradually, Meena realizes how much her husband is affected by the young man’s presence.

Touzani previously described “The Blue Kaftan” as “a film about love above all, about the freedom to be who you are, to love who you want to love.”

“The Blue Kaftan” became the first Moroccan film to make the Oscar shortlist and won more than 45 awards at major international festivals, including the Jury Prize (tied with “Alma Viva”) at the Marrakech International Film Festival in 2022 . The film also received awards at the Seattle, Chicago, Angoulême and Gothenburg festivals. The film was sold by Films Boutique in over 30 territories, including the US, with a strand release.

Ayuch, who previously directed and produced several thought-provoking films such as “Much Loved”, said that “The Blue Kaftan” takes a “deeply poignant look at one man’s suppressed homosexuality within his marriage and our definition of love.” But it raises questions.” “Much Loved”, which explored prostitution in Morocco, ranks as the second-biggest Moroccan film export with 339,000 admissions sold abroad.

“Blue Kaftan” was produced by Ali N Productions of Aouch in Morocco, Les Films du nouveau monde in France, Velvet in Belgium and Snowglobe in Denmark.

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