22  05  2009

Interview with Dalila Ennadre

An interview with a very independent director

Dalila Ennadre has a favourite subject: the women of her home country. Not the stylish and emancipated citizens. The other ones, the forgotten ones. The outcasts. Those who, abandoned by their husbands, feed their children on hard bread dipped in tea. Those who slave away from morning to night for a meagre pay. Those who can’t read or write. Those who have nothing but their will to pull through. Those women are heroines. In fact that’s how one of her documentaries is titled, El Batallet, which is bound to make Dalila Ennadre famous.

Why women? “It’s my way to pay homage to my mother and anyways women are the turntables of life. When I show women, I inevitably speak of men and children, therefore of the family", explains this 40 year old who considers herself more a director than a documentary maker.

How does she define documentary? “It’s above all a film with the subjective viewpoint of the author. I personally can’t make out the difference. Being self-taught, I managed to avoid the indoctrination of theory. A film is primarily an exchange with the spectator. It’s the public who chooses to watch the film or not. It doesn’t ask itself whether it’s a documentary or a fiction. I believe that life is a permanent staging, unreeling in front of us each second. So you can move the furniture around or change it, certain that it will help to convey your message, but all you need is already there”, she reveals. To her, documentaries should not be impartial, neutral or even objective. “You need to have a code of ethics. you have to be honest with the subject you deal with, the characters, the public that will watch the film. Being objective is not the issue, unless you want to make a reportage! A documentary is the product of a subjective viewpoint on the world we live in", she explains. She considers the documentary essential as, “compared to other countries Morocco was spared a gruelling colonisation. Many traditions were preserved and transmitted orally. Today, there is an urgent need to collect our memory and the documentary allows you to do that”.

She feels that the mission of the documentary is to create a link among people. “With my films, I really try to create a place where the public can meet a character and communicate directly with him. This helps to get acquainted with the character and to acknowledge his/her diversity. This is an essential element in the era of globalisation, which I am favourable to as long as diversity is safeguarded. You need to meet the other to stop being afraid of him/her and the documentary, to my understanding, makes this happen”, she explains.

Although most of her films were shot in Morocco, Dalila Ennadre laments the country’s lack of financial support. “Unfortunately my films are always financed by foreign channels like Arte, France 5, the Dutch channel NMO, the Centre National Cinématographique français and Belgian TV. I would have loved to be supported by Morocco, the Moroccan television, since it’s the way to unite people”, she underlines.

If Morocco's filming industry places the documentary at the bottom of its interests, it is due to the lack of distributors. She insists however that there is a strong public demand. “I feel it every time I show my films especially through the network of the French cultural institutes. People are happy and always tell me ”Nothing was added or cut out. You portrayed our reality”. They feel recognised and it moves them and gives them hope, because they feel someone is interested in them" she believes.

In addition to the cinemas in Morocco’s French cultural institutes, the works of Dalila Ennadre are shown on festivals. Femmes de la médina-El Batalett (2000) and Je voudrais vous raconter (2005) were screened on the occasion of Casa-ciné. Read the full article:

Fadwa Miadi -