Asmae El Moudir, filmmaker: “I lead a film like a military mission”

We met Asmae El Mudir on Friday February 16, her birthday. She was celebrating her 34th birthday and, in a way, the incredible year she had just had, thanks to her first feature film, The Mother of All Lies , which competed in numerous festivals – Cannes Film Festival , but also Marrakech (Morocco), Valenciennes (North), Montpellier, Sydney (Australia), Durban (South Africa)… – and received a host of prizes. Holder of a master’s degree in production from the Higher Institute of Information and Communication in Rabat (where she was born), then trained at Fémis in Paris, the director has always shared her life between the two cities. . Endowed with boundless energy, she has directed several short films ( Thank God It’s Friday , 2013; Rough Cut , 2015; La Carte poste , 2020) which led to The Mother of All Lies , a film that she worn for ten years.

Childhood, family, memory run through your filmography. Would you say that “The Mother of All Lies” is the culmination of what you have done before?

In any case, the project dates back to 2012, when I was at Fémis. My investigation file to enter focused on the theme of traces. That’s when I started working on my family’s history. One day, when I was helping my parents move, I found a photo that my mother had once shown me, in which, she told me, I appeared. She was lying. I then come back to this question that I had already asked at the age of 12. Why weren’t there any photos of us in the house? And still silence. A little later, I learned on television what had happened in my neighborhood: the deaths that had occurred during the bread riots, of which there was obviously no trace in our area. It was then that I decided to go to the village where my mother was born. To think and find the device which, with nothing at my disposal, would allow me to weave the link between the small and the big story. I got stuck, I gave up and I made The Postcard .

When and how did the idea of the model and figurines emerge?

By my father who, one day, said to me: “We’re going to do like when you were little, when I made cardboard houses and you played in them with your brothers and sisters. » This is how he became the designer of the film. For eight months, he worked with a team of decorators from Ouarzazate. Everyone pitches in. I go around the markets to get money. With each amount collected, we move forward a little further. Because I want to produce myself to be free, not to have deadlines to respect as required by television, which requires pages of script and expects your film within six months. Which was impossible for The Mother of All Lies , whose story was being written over time. We started shooting in 2019. At the end, I had five hundred hours of rushes. For two years, I worked in editing alone. I did a lot of technical studies. It helps me every step of the way. When I don’t have the money, I know what to do. I conduct a film like a military mission.

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