Fyzal Boulifa returns with this arresting melodrama – a rich, humane study of a co-dependent mother and son in hyper-conservative contemporary Morocco.
Teenager Selim (Adbellah El Hajjouji) and his mother Fatima-Zahra (Aïcha Tebbae) live in close quarters, constantly on the breadline and moving from place to place. When a trip to her family village reveals troubling secrets, the strength of their already-volatile bond is put to the test.
Remixing key elements of its 1950 Joan Crawford-starring namesake (and the narrative arc of Pasolini’s Mamma Roma) into a strange and sensuous story, The Damned Don’t Cry explores modes of transgressive sexuality, restrictive cultural expectations and the weight of colonial history. A boldly coloured and atmospheric film, tragic and beautiful, it recalls the work of Douglas Sirk and Rainer Werner Fassbinder.