Comedy film legend Bill Murray honoured at Marrakech International Film Festival
Casablanca - US filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola opened the 15th Marrakech International Film Festival as head of the jury with a special tribute to Canadian cinema.
Coppola said Morocco was one of his favourite places.
“My grandmother was born in North Africa and she spoke French, English, Italian and Arabic,” he said.
“I believe Morocco is a magical land and I look forward to discussing with my friends here and being united in the friendship and creativity, which are things that cinema has always encouraged,” added the director of the Godfather trilogy.
US actor Bill Murray, Oscar-nominated for his role in Lost in Translation, received a lifetime achievement award at the December 4th opening ceremony.
Murray gave an emotional speech during which he addressed recent terror attacks that have shaken France and the United States.
“My heart is heavy because of the events in Paris; my heart is heavy because of the events in San Bernardino,” said Murray. “It’s a strange world right now, a very strange world.
“Each and every man and woman here on this planet is a manifestation of God and to that end we must all work,” he added.
He then promoted his new movie Rock the Kasbah (directed by Barry Levinson), which was filmed in 2014 in the North African kingdom.
“I usually turn down lifetime homages because it means you’re dying or very sick,” he said. “And I only came here because it was here… And because it’s this film and I wanted all of you to see it because it was filmed here in Morocco.”
Rock the Kasbah, which was screened as part of the opening ceremony, is a story of a washed-up music manager Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) who is fired by his last client while on a visit to Kabul.
Richie’s luck turns around after meeting Salima Khan (Leem Lubany), a Pashtun teenager with a stunning voice who dreams of becoming the first female to compete on the television show Afghan Star, Afghanistan’s version of American Idol.
To help Salima fulfill her dream, Richie seeks help from a prostitute (Kate Hudson), his arms-merchant friends Nick and Jake (Danny McBride and Scott Caan) in Kabul and a mercenary (Bruce Willis).
The festival, set to run through December 12th, scheduled 93 films from 33 nations to be showcased. The films included the Mexican migration thriller Desierto and Canada’s Closet Monster.
Festival organisers focused on Canadian cinema and chose to honour Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan for his movie The Captive, which is among the films that competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
Master classes scheduled as part of the festival’s activities include Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami, South Korea’s Park Chan-wook and Germany’s Fatih Akin.