‘Atoman, Wind Rider’ features first Moroccan-African superhero

Inspired by Amazigh mythology, filming will start next December and will take place in Morocco, France and some sub-Saharan countries.
Monday 07/09/2020
French-Moroccan rapper Youssef Akdim aka Lartiste poses during a photo session in Paris on July 15, 2020. (AFP)
French-Moroccan rapper Youssef Akdim aka Lartiste poses during a photo session in Paris on July 15, 2020. (AFP)

Paris – Moroccan-Belgian director Anouar Mouatassim announced during a press conference in Paris on Friday that he is working on his first feature film, “Atoman, Wind Rider,” which will centre on the first superhero of Moroccan-African origin, inspired by Amazigh mythology.

Filming will start next December and will take place in Morocco, France and some sub-Saharan countries. Mouatassim chose actors from Morocco, Mali, France and Belgium to perform in the film, with the main role being awarded to famous French-Moroccan rapper Youssef Akdim, whose stage name is Lartiste.

The movie tells the story of Hakim Imlil, who becomes one of the world’s most wanted hackers after penetrating the databases of a French-Chinese-American pharmaceutical laboratory to help COVID-19 patients benefit from a low-cost drug.

After being arrested by Interpol on an island where he is seeking refuge, Imlil is handed over to Moroccan authorities. He then makes a deal allowing him to leave jail in return for working for the police’s cyber crime unit.

Anouar Moatassim and the film team during a press conference in Paris, Friday. (Twitter)
Anouar Moatassim and the film team during a press conference in Paris, Friday. (Twitter)

Through the events, Imlil discovers he is the son of a family with supernatural powers, and decides to learn how to harness his power to face the dangers that threaten the world.

Imlil becomes Atoman, which means “man of the wind” in Amazigh, embarking on a fierce battle against powerful enemies looking to control the planet.

According to the film team, “the time has come” for African and Maghreb cinema to begin producing their own superhero films. They were inspired by “Black Panther,” the first Hollywood film to feature a black superhero lead, the late African-American actor Chadwick Bozeman.

When asked why it is important to feature a Moroccan superhero, Mouatassim replied that the film intends to challenge complexes and break down barriers.

According to him, “the hero Atoman draws his power and identity from Moroccan and Amazigh heritage, an identity that we find in the film through the costumes, the set, the music.”

“This idea, entirely new to Moroccan cinema, took its time to be mature and to take shape, before being realised thanks to the efforts of a determined team. It’s a dream come true,” Mouatassim added.