« If your are with us, you will be with us » .This is not the Bush quotation after 9/11, but it is a quotation from a movie directed by Ahmed Bouanani and performed benignly by Mustafa Mounir.Being alone and left by dear friends and celebrities ,”cinema and movies” tries to get in touch with him to know about his craft and art in order to tell the world that Moroccan artists are still dying slowly without taking care of them because simply the saga of indifference and irresponsibility continues in a country ashamed and sometimes afraid to insert democratic values.
Allal-cinemagoer: Moustafa Mounir is another artistic name that circulates in the cinema world in
Mustafa: Thanks, Allal.My name is Mustafa Mounir, a theatre and cinema actor. I have worked with many Moroccan film-makers starting with Mohamed Ousfour, Ahmed Tachfine, Ahmed bouanani, Abderrahman Tazi and Souhail Ben Barka.
Allal-cinemagoer: By the way. You know when you were shooting that famous sequence of “Assarab” by Ahmed bouanani quote” « If your are with us, You will be with us ».I was a teenager and I was on the set in Salé near the beach , a place called Challera.I was watching you .It is a marvellous place. You must know it is an ideal place to shoot that Shakespearian play called “The tempest” there.
Mustafa: Yes, I love Shakespeare and I am a tragic actor. I also played that boy with Peter O’toole in Lawrence of Arabia by David Lean.I have played in 240 films with my respectable colleagues naming for example Hmidou Ben Masoud, Abdellah Amrani, Hassan Skalli and Mohammed Afifi including French actors who used to come in troops to our country.
Allal-cinemagoer: Sometimes they were called to dub Hindi films with you?
Mustafa: That’s right. That was at Swissi studio,
Allal-cinemagoer: Amitabh Bachchan came to Marrakech. Did you manage to meet him?
Mustafa: No. I just could not. Too much security and too much ado about nothing. Besides. Hindi movies were and are still persona non grata at Marrakech film festival especially by the French monitors. Talking about dubbing Hindi films, we used to go to Brahim Sayeh ‘s house where we did lipsing and montage on the air .Brahim had his editing table at home. I think his family still keeps it there.
Mustafa :( laughably) because simply he was a great man. A man of intellect and wit. Besides, I know things about rushes kept somewhere in Swissi suburbs .Some people bite their teeth about it, but it is the truth. Maybe it is not time to talk about them yet. Things that CCM would avoid to mention too.Sayeh wanted to buy That Swissi studio. It costs him a lot, about 85 millions.
Allal-cinemagoer: later on you moved to Ain Ashok in
Mustafa: Yes. It is true. Ain ashok was then called Telma.There I worked with great actors like Mohammed Said Afifi, Hassan Skalli and as assistant director with Souhail Ben Barka.These are the films I worked in:
Television: Allekaa Al Akhir by Abdellah Misbahi
Television: Kitar al Hayat by Hamid Bannani.
Cinema: Al Hayatou Kifah by Tazi and El Masnaoui
Cinema: Al Kanfoudi by Nabil Lahlou
Cinema: Assarab by Ahmed Bouanani
Allal-cinemagoer: You have a nice reputation as actor?
Mustafa: I love my work honestly. I do not know cheating. I am a man who came out of a great school in Moroccan drama studies. That school was called “Al Markez Al Marribi Li Al Abhat Al Masrhiya”.My tutors were French such as Abert Boutboule, André Voisin, and Pierre Lucas. These tutors used to attend French theatrical troops that used to come to
Allal-cinemagoer: Tell me Mustafa. What are you doing now?
Mustafa:I am working with friends and I am also doing some casting .By the way, technically speaking, do you know that the first crane built in Morocco was by Mohamed Ousfour.It is thrown somewhere in his studio in Arfoud which is apparently closed because of heritage problems. In Essaouira, when Orson Wells finished his “Othello”; he gave to Ousfour cinematic tools like cables and so forth. It seems that cranes are left aside and none is care to take them apart from Noureddine Konjar who has used his TV crane for the first time to shoot his first fiction film “The Waiting Room” in which I played along with Abdelkebir Ben Biche and Salwa El Jawhari.
Allal-cinemagoer: what do you think about Moroccan film festivals?
Mustafa: Good idea. Film festivals must be a place where artists meet and talk about cinema. I was deceived to know that
Allal-cinemagoer: De we have expensive actors?
Mustafa: I do not think so. Three names whom press sometimes talks about badly. Ismail Abu Al Kanateer, Mohamed Miftah and Mohamed Majd.I think they are ready to work with anybody who is interested to cast them. Cinema productions must be continuous and good in quality and quantity. Then I think we might talk about stardom. It is nice to hear that Martil film festival has invited good technicians such as Youssef Chahin’s assistant director and Reda Bahi.
Allal-cinemagoer: Some people say that Daoud Aouled Assayed’s movies are praised only in foreign festivals.
Mustafa: It is not true; this is said by Abdelwahad Ouzri.I think Abdelwahad does not go to festivals. We are at
Allal-cinemagoer: No. do you think there must a governmental bill only for artists?
Mustafa: Yes.Absolutely.There is that artist card that circulates within .But, nothing comes out of it. There must be a national referendum about this. Artists represent civil society. They should have at least some dignity. Artists are our cultural heritage. However, change comes from people, because I doubt that the government can do anything about us.