Ali Zoua: Prince of the Streets (2000)
June 23, 2012 Leave a comment
Film Movement 1.3
Ali Zoua, a film about street children in a Moroccan town, owes a debt to The 400 Blows. Unfortunately, the similarities are no great benefit as the things that doomed The 400 Blows go a long way to dooming this film. The main difference is a lower quality of acting.
The 400 Blows spends a fair amount of time establishing Antoine’s family situation, though I found it a bit lacking as a justification for his irresponsible behavior and ultimately couldn’t sympathize with his situation. Ali Zoua is much less forthcoming on the reasons these boys are in the streets, but there is some indication that it is just as tenuous. We open on Ali telling a terrible story about his mother considering selling his eyes, settling for money over a sighted child, but this seems an obvious fiction. Lacking any other real firm grounding in why these kids are on the street, it runs into the same problem, I see no reason to care about the plight of these brats and their dangerous game.
I suppose it’s not a spoiler as it happens within the first ten minutes, but Ali is killed when hit by a rock by members of the gang he and his friends abandoned. The film is, loosely, the quest of his remaining friends to get him buried properly. Along the way they learn life lessons and in a way he proves a Christ figure or something. Once the film has lost you, those details are not really that important.