Crossing the Seventh Gate
Morocco, 2017, 80 min, DCP, colour, Arab-French
Completed in 1987, Ahmed Bouanani’s La Septième Porte [The Seventh Gate], like most of his manuscripts, remained unpublished for over three decades before it started its existence as a book at the end of 2020. Today we celebrate its Spanish translation, published on the occasion of this retrospective, by screening Ali Essafi’ film, Crossing the Seventh Gate. It is a feature-length portrait of Ahmed Bouanani, whom Essafi visited and filmed from 2007 until his death in 2011. By then, Bouanani was leading a reclusive life in a remote village with his wife Naïma and many cats, amid huge piles of books and manuscripts. He was physically frail but unbroken in spirit. Combined with photographs, documents, film excerpts, and an old TV interview, Bouanani’s comments about his place within Moroccan cinema, the censorship he was subjected to, and his work as a film editor give a poignant sense of his lasting relevance and unshakable integrity.