Rent The Blue Caftan (2022)

3.8 of 5 from 81 ratings
2h 2min
Rent The Blue Caftan (aka Le bleu du caftan) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
Halim (Saleh Bakri) and Mina (Lubna Azabal) run a traditional caftan store in one of Morocco's oldest medinas. The couple have lived for a long time with Halim's secret, his homosexuality, which he has learnt to keep quiet about. Mina's illness and the arrival of a young apprentice will disturb this equilibrium. United in their love, each will help the other confront their fears.
Actors:
, , Ayoub Missioui, Mounia Lamkimel, , , Fatima Hilal, Mariam Lalouaz, Kholoud El Ouehabi, Amira Tiouli, Hanaa Laidi, Aymane El Oarrari, Ilyass El Ouahdani, Fouzia Ejjawi, , Mohamed Tahri Joutey Hassani, Abdellah Lebkiri, Driss Diouri, Ilham Chakib, Abdelrhafor Essolh
Directors:
Producers:
Nabil Ayouch
Writers:
Maryam Touzani, Nabil Ayouch
Aka:
Le bleu du caftan
Studio:
New Wave Films
Genres:
Drama, Lesbian & Gay, Romance
Countries:
Morocco
BBFC:
Release Date:
11/09/2023
Run Time:
122 minutes
Languages:
Arabic Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English, English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Colour:
Colour
BBFC:
Release Date:
11/09/2023
Run Time:
122 minutes
Languages:
Arabic Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English, English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B

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Reviews (2) of The Blue Caftan

Tender and compassionate Moroccan drama - The Blue Caftan review by PD

Spoiler Alert
17/09/2023

It’s no secret that Morocco is one of the most homophobic places on Earth, punishing certain acts with prison sentences. Maryam Touzani’s tender and compassionate piece involves Halim (perfectly played by Salem Bakri), and his wife, Mina (Lubna Azabal - also superb) who own an old-fashioned garment shop in the town’s medina. Halim works as a maalem, or master tailor, struggling to keep the trade alive. These days, machines accomplish the work that artisans like Halim once did by hand, and apprentices are hard to find, and quite a bit of the film is dedicated to this disappearing craft: as with Paul Anderson's 'Phantom Thread', Touzani details with some skill the care with which Halim sews the embroidery to the hem of a caftan, featuring shots of characters preparing the thread, testing the fabrics and so on. These sensual details evoke the sensation of touch, taking the place of the more explicit scenes found in so many LGBT-themed art-house films; the film is thus admirably restrained and understated, even if it perhaps overstays its welcome a little at over 2 hours.

We are clearly meant to identify with Halim, who has been forced to repress his true identity for many years, but the most empathetic character is arguably his seriously ill wife, whom Azabal imbues with more layers than the screenplay suggests. We think of her feelings even in scenes when Mina remains off-screen — as when Halim slinks away to the local hammam, where he’s found a way to have anonymous sex with other men. There’s little satisfaction in these trysts, which take place behind closed doors, but Halim silently hopes for more when a fair-featured young man named Youssef (Ayoub Missioui) expresses an interest in learning the trade. Mina picks up on the threat almost immediately, catching her husband staring discreetly — but not nearly discreetly enough — at Youssef’s bare torso as the apprentice changes clothes across the workshop. How much does she understand about Halim’s true nature? That question floats beneath the surface of the film, unanswered till nearly the end. There is also the matter of the eponymous caftan, which a client has commissioned for a special occasion. An ankle-length tunic made of petroleum blue silk, embellished with ornate gold trim, it appears to be the most beautiful garment Halim has ever made. But this time, he isn’t working alone. Touzani showcases practically every step of the creation, using the process as a kind of slow-motion seduction between Halim and Youssef. The woman who ordered the caftan stops by every few days to check on its progress, but Mina doesn’t like her attitude; the job takes weeks and would earn them a fine sum, but Touzani has introduced the caftan as a symbol, and it’s touching to see how the film uses it in the end.

There's a kind of wishful thinking to the film's politics, for as Morocco modernises, Halim’s field seems increasingly outdated, but by the same token so long as the country remains conservative about aspects of homosexuality, he cannot love whom he wants. “The Blue Caftan” dares to imagine a world where there’s room for both appreciation of the old ways and room to evolve. Serious work.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

The Blue Caftan, the most beautiful film I have seen in a long while - The Blue Caftan review by mc

Spoiler Alert
09/10/2023

This is a slow revealing of the relationship between three people in a Moroccan tailor's shop in the Souk. The master, his wife and a young apprentice. Each character is a good person but the situation between them tests their goodness. There are heart-rending tender moments and a final scene of tragedy and triumph of spirit. The whole scene play is very close within the Souk and is completely authentic. Malcolm

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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