Street Children in Casablanca, Morocco – Ali Zaoua
In this opening scene from the film, “Ali Zaoua,” we meet the the four Moroccan street children who are the main characters in this film: Ali Zaoua, Kwita, Boubker and Omar. In a conflict with gang leader, Dib, Ali is killed and his three friends are left with the problem of how to bury him.
Real Casablanca street children (“chemkaras”) play the lead roles and these kids perform magnificently. As they try to deal with the death of their leader and friend and attempt to find a way to bury him fittingly, their life in the streets and their characters are revealed with sensitivity, depth and gritty realism. These kids have lived hard lives and it shows on their faces and in their eyes and is reflected in their sincere and memorable performances.
The four children who star in this film are: Mounim Kbab, Mustapha Hansali, Hicham Moussone and Adbalhak Zhayra.
Brilliantly directed by Nabil Ayouch, this film surely ranks with “Pixote” and “Salaam Bombay” in its realistic portrayal of street children and deserves to be more widely known.