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Ali Zaoua review

When Moroccan street kid Ali (Abdelhak Zhayra) is killed during a confrontation with his old gang (led by Three Kings star Saïd Taghmaoui) his three best pals – Kwita (Mounïm Kbab), Omar (Mustapha Hansali) and Boubker (Hicham Moussoune) – decide to honour his memory. They do this by inheriting his dream of finding “the island with two suns”, and embark on a heartfelt quest to discover this mythical terrain and make it their young friend’s burial ground.

Featuring real street kids and displaying a stylised fusion of raw reality, fantasy and animation, this second feature from writer-director Nabil Ayouch – following his critically acclaimed 1998 debut, Mektoub – has already nabbed numerous awards at international film festivals (including a jury prize at the Montreal Film Festival).

Ali Zaoua is often moving and always gripping, an unpredictable urban fairytale whose heavy-handed symbolism is easy to forgive in the light of so many positives.

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Available platformsMovie