"Amal": An Ode to Freedom of Expression and Resilience

Jawad Rhalib's new film to be shown at Ghent and Tallinn festivals

The first glimpse of the film plunges us into the tormented world of Mounia, who lets out her tears in the shower, bearing the after-effects of the attacks she suffered at school. An eloquent tattoo on her back reads: 'Don't forget to die'.

This film, directed by Jawad Rhalib, renowned for his committed documentaries, including The Pink Revolution and The Time Arabs Danced, marks his return to the world of fiction after an eight-year wait.

Amal, brilliantly played by the talented Lubna Azabal, takes on the role of an unconventional French teacher with daring teaching practices in the heart of the merciless high school jungle, where she comes face to face with the ghosts of her own past. At the same time, Mounia, a student of Moroccan origin, finds the courage to accept her homosexuality and decides to come out, only to face relentless harassment with dramatic consequences.

Amal strives to teach her students tolerance and acceptance of difference, despite threats and religious pressure. The director recounts how Amal discovers the reality of the fundamentalist stranglehold on the school and the administration, which resigns in the face of pressure. Despite the challenges, Amal remains determined to fight obscurantism by using education as a means of promoting modernity and freedom.

Jawad Rhalib wants his film to play a part in the fight against obscurantism by highlighting education as a powerful weapon against religious extremism. "Amal", a resolutely raw film, aims to demonstrate that, even in the face of adversity, the voice of reason will ultimately triumph.