Saturday, July 02, 2011

Mohamed Majd in Hanna

A late-coming star who nevertheless was on time: that is how Mohamed Majd's relationship with the Moroccan cinema could be described. When the need was there, he answered the call, when everyone thought he was forgotten, finished, he made a brilliant come-back, giving a lesson of endurance, perseverance and passion. A discreet passion fuelled with wisdom and a simple philosophy of life.

Mohamed Majd was born in 1940; for this Casablanca child of origin and heart, who grew up in the frenzied atmosphere of post independence years, cinema is almost a destiny. He first started in theatre, a logical choice in the Casablanca of the late 50s, where popular culture found, through the stage, a terrific medium for showing the desire for utopia and the eagerness to express oneself again. He acts in the main companies of the town and at the beginning of the 60's he himself directs actors and puts on plays… He acts in the first serial of the young Moroccan television.

Then the cinema comes very soon, right at its timid beginning. He appears in "Forêt" by Abdelmajid Rechiche (1970), a real little jewel which Majd carried off with a performance of both enthusiasm and self-control. He returns in "Al Borak" (1973) with Rechiche again… Here he shows a style which will stamp his career with generosity and availability. In the 70's, international recognition also starts with notably his role in "Le Messager" by Mostafa Akkad.

Then suddenly Majd chooses to disappear from the big screens and to come back to theatre in order to resource his interests. In the middle of the 80s, the cinema finds him accustomed to the experience of life and practical work; he is then very sought after in international productions and plays in over 80 feature or TV films. The dynamic manner in which the Moroccan cinema takes off in the 90s finds in Mohamed Majd a figurehead, an international actor of class with great humanity.

A breathtaking role in "Ali Zaoua, prince de la rue" by Nabil Ayouch (1999) makes him the actor of the coming decade; a career underlined by two best actor awards at the National Film Festival at Oujda in 2003 in "A Thousand Months" by Faouzi Bensaïdi and at Tangiers in 2005 in "Le Grand Voyage" by Ismaïl Ferroukhi.

Other international awards at Nantes for his role in "Le Cheval de Vent" by Daoud Aoulad-Syad and at Mar del Plata in Argentina for his part in "Le Grand Voyage" confirm this new international recognition. A tribute to a career and passion for the cinema: Mohamed Majd is classical material; he doesn't act, he doesn't perform; he gives himself totally. It's a gift to the film and to the Moroccan cinema.