Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival


The Mother of All Lies

When Asmae El Moudir was a child, her family did not allow photographs in the household for reasons that never became clear to her. The film starts with this small personal memory, a slight mystery. However, from there El Moudir builds a story that covers a familial, local and national political trauma and entwines them together. It shows the scars of these actions that the people and Moroccan society still carry with them to this day.

All of this is handled in a visually fascinating way through re-enactment. For this purpose, El Moudir and her father have built a replica of the neighbourhood where the family lived. The miniature offers a unique way of visualising the events, simultaneously naïve and underlining how harrowing the described events are. But at the same time, it feels like the characters get something very specific through the creation of this replica: a pictorial representation of the events, a way of giving a physical form to the memories that haunt them. El Moudir also seems to be doing the same thing through her filmmaking: creating a physically retainable memory of not only the events but also of her family.

At the Cannes Film Festival, the film was awarded the directing prize in the esteemed Un Certain Regard section and shared the award for the best documentary film of the festival. 

Pyry Silomaa

Content warning: conversations and re-enactment of violence

Original Title: Kadib Abyad
Language: Arabic
Subtitles: English
Length: 96 min
Age Limit: K12
Year: 2023
Production Country: Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar

Director: Asmae El Moudir
Producer: Asmae El Moudir
Production Company: Insightfilms, Fig Leaf Studio
Distribution Company: Autlook Filmsales
Editing: Asmae El Moudir
Cinematographer: Hatem Nechi
Music: Nass El Ghiwane
Sound Design: Abdelaziz Glassine, Michael Fawzy