Film: The Blue Caftan




Remarkably this sensitively told love story was made in Morocco, a country where same sex activity is illegal, and can bring a prison sentence.

Halim (Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri) and Mina (Luba Azabul) are a married couple of kindred spirits.  They operate a shop in Sale in one of Morocco’s oldest medinas. It specializes in beautiful hand embroidered caftans at a time when embroidery machines are taking over from traditional hand work.

Mina runs the shop doing the accounting, buying fabric and selling it to their customers, while Halim cuts and sews the fabric.

There is more work than they can handle, and to satisfy demands from customers a young apprentice Youssef (Ayoub Missioui) is hired to help with the making of a blue caftan for a special occasion.



Halim habitually goes to a local bathhouse where he has sexual liaisons with men. Mina, whose health is deteriorating, perhaps knows that her husband is bisexual, and that he is attracted to Youssef.

As her health deteriorates and because they love and understand each other Mina accepts and supports a developing relationship between Halim and Youssef.

Director/writer Maryam Touzani (director of the critically acclaimed Adam) is a former journalist with a focus on cinema who has never been afraid to make films on subjects that are controversial in Morocco such as prostitution, the exploitation of children and the plight of single mothers.


She has said ”there is something very beautiful about being questioned and shaken and that’s why it’s important to be able to look at tradition with different eyes”, and, “it’s important to be able to make a statement like this one, because it’s going to be able to contribute to opening a debate”.

After the Moroccan government had given its approval The Blue Caftan made it to the short list of 12 submissions to this year’s Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.

This is a story of love. It has beautifully subtle performances from the actors and excellent cinemaphotography from Vingenie Surdel.

163 minutes.

Spoken in Arabic with English subtitles.

Showing at UWA Somerville, Nedlands from Monday 20thto Sunday 26thMarch at 7.30 pm.

Screening with Francis Alys’ Children’s Games: Rubi, Democratic Republic of Congo, 6 minutes.



Watch the trailer…