Moroccan Jews at the Miami Jewish Film Festival

For two weeks beginning on April 14, 2021, the Miami Jewish Film Festival is streaming two new films about Moroccan Jews, both about Moroccan Jewish music. One, “Raymonde El Bidaouia,” deals with the life of Moroccan-Israeli musician Raymonde and the other, “In Your Eyes, I See My Country,” explores the visit of Moroccan-Israeli musicians Neta Elkayam and Amit Hai Cohen to Morocco. It is free to stream both films, but they are geographically restricted to computers in Florida.

Raymonde El Bidaouia

Raymonde El Bidaouia from the Film in Her Name

Raymonde – diva, queen, enigma, inspiration, survivor, widow, woman, and mother. Armed with a camera, internationally acclaimed Israeli actress Yaël Abecassis followed her mother and stepped into a world where she had always been a stranger. For the first time, they embark on a journey together: from a childhood in the mellah of Casablanca to the dunes of Ashdod and back to Morocco, where her mother became the legendary Raymonde El Bidaouia – a world-famous Moroccan singer. As they journey, Yaël discovers a woman who articulates her weaknesses and the complexities of her choices with keen self-awareness, even when mother and daughter are transposed, twined together by guilt, admiration, pain, and above all else, limitless love and music.

Discussion with Raymonde’s Daughter and Film Director Yaël Abecassis

In Your Eyes, I See My Country

Trailer for In Your Eyes, I See My Country

In this compassionate and lively documentary, Jerusalem musicians Neta Elkayam and Amit Hai Cohen journey to Morocco, their grandparents’ native country, to discover their cultural and existential legacies. To expunge their sense of misplacement, they begin their adventure by soaking in the sites and sounds of their heritage. They visit old houses where their ancestors used to live and talk to neighbors who never left. They bear witness to a reality where Jews and Muslims live side-by-side without war. Though always grappling with their dual identities, each musical encounter along the way offers Neta and Amit a chance to self-reflect and reexamine their long-term aspirations. Back home, the band they created revisits and reimagines their common Judeo-Moroccan musical heritage and offers Israeli Jews an opportunity to learn and sing songs in Arabic. They hope that sharing their music will lead to cultural understanding and begin to heal the wounds of exile carried by their parents. With a gorgeously rich repertory of traditional songs, enchanting musical performances, and a deep and sincere humanism, In Your Eyes, I See My Country resurrects the dream of building bridges between cultures.

Discussion with Director Kamal Hachkar, Who Previously Directed the Film “Tinghir-Jerusalem”

Published by rickgold2013

Rick Gold is a Jewish-American who lived in Morocco from 1988-1992, built a home there and visited dozens of Jewish communities and hundred of Jewish sites throughout the country

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