11 February 2012

Interview with North Africa United.

Simo Ezoubeiri : The Image in the Service of Art

Wednesday February 8, 2012

Simo Ezoubeiri lives and works in the USA , he was born and grew up in Marrakech and has received wide acclaim for his portrail of artistic themes on video particularly his portrayals of the Marrakech he knows and loves. He talks to North Africa United about Marrakech and the future of cinema.

Simo Ezoubeiri : The Image in the Service of Art
NAU:     What is the artistic vision you are expressing in “Inner Marrakech.” 

Mohammed Ezoubeiri:  “Inner Marrakech” is a subjective regard about my native city of Marrakech. I have so much love, respect and penchant toward the city, so making a project based on these inner feelings was a true pleasure. From the beginning, I had a descent plan to make a visual film about the city that inspires painting and design. This project was a new item on my bucket list since the first time I watched“ What Dreams May come” directed by Vincent Ward. I tried to capture the vivid colors of Marrakech, the daily life imagery that is based on natural/urban scenery. All was put together in a compressed low frame rate below 2fps to create a stop-motion look with a painting approach. The difference between Vincent Ward’s film and my modest visual is that the movie is depicting an imaginative world. However, Inner Marrakech is depicting real life, real light, and real people in an extravaganza of visual vistas. 

Q:  Are digital and 3D the future of cinema? 

A: I think the future of cinema is making good films and telling compelling stories. 3D was considered as a new format that only helped to bring moviegoers back to the theatre and keep them away from TV screens. There are few exceptions that applied 3D as part of the storytelling process such as the case of Martin Scorsese’ Hugo. 3D still remains as the new cinema savior in certain cases such as of the Indian super flick Ra.One by Abhinav Sinha. In short, it is not defined yet if 3D or Digital are going to be “the future of cinema.” 

Q : Does the fusion of styles- artistic and documentary offer more creative opportunities? 

A:  I agree with you. Audiences are always intrigued by new filmmaking techniques and styles. The more creative the market of software become, the more artists are involved to try new films such as Inception, Avatar and Hugo. However, documentaries required more realism and preparation for their artistic approaches. Basically, all what you need is a good topic, interesting location(s), and people in one/various situations (Bad/Good) 

The possibility to add a voice over or commentary is accurate. I remember when I watched “My Architect”, a documentary about a “man who searches to know the hidden heart of his father Louis I, Kahn.” in this documentary, the voice over/commentary were well applied to bring Nathanaiel Kahn’s vision into life. Another example I personally consider as brilliant and authentic is Kevin Macdonald’s “Life in a Day.” in this crowd sourced documentary film, we learn about the life of different people from different countries and cultures in a parallel montage on a single day, July 24, 2010. According to Kevin Macdonald, “the movie is a metaphor of the experience of being on the internet… clicking on place to another, in this almost random way… following our own thoughts, narrative and thematic paths.” by saying that, the fusion of a crowd sourced film/documentary has ultimately engaged and gathered audiences world wide to share clips of various slices of life in an interesting manner. 

Q:   Marrakech is a powerful center for Moroccan contemporary art and international artists, is audiovisual a good way to reflect this? 

 A: Thanks to someone like Mr. Hicham Daoudi, chairman of Art Holding Morocco, who is leading a professional group operating the art market in Morocco, Marrakech Art Fair has become the first modern and annual contemporary Art Fair in Morocco and North Africa so far! I think Marrakech is a photogenic city with an arsenal in international cinema as well. We’ve seen the city in some international productions such as Alfred Hitchcock’s “The man who knew too much,” Gillies Mackinnon’s “ Hideous Kinky,” and Oliver Stone’s “ Alexander” when I had the chance to meet Val Kilmer in person near El- Pasha Palace of Marrakech. The ochre colored city has also benefited from the audiovisual platforms to reflect its power as the center of Moroccan contemporary art by creating festivals like Digital Marrakech or showing various videos/short films in Marrakech Mesuem, Esav or IFM. 

Q:  What is the theme of your film “Flood of Life in Marrakech?” 

 A: My city Marrakech is the theme of “Flood of life in Marrakech.” two years ago; I had a wonderful comic book as a birthday gift from a wonderful human being. When I opened the book, I fallen love with its illustrations and especially the art of Eric Drooker. Then, I decided to apply the drawing technique from still images to manipulated/moving images by working in motion graphic software. My intention was to create a non-narrative short film that inspired a rainy day in Marrakech. I was conscious that Marrakech doesn’t get often enough rain. So, exaggerating the creation of rain/flood was intent ally implied to emphasis a feeling of optimism and bright future. Water is a source of life and nature. The symbol of “flood of life” has a beautiful meaning of life, purity and awesomeness. In short, the meaning of the film depicts that the realism of the world is in between our hands but the people around us are such unknown… sometimes the world depicts life as a slow-moving turtle; and sometimes the world deceives us and plays us as fools as an illusion that is fast as lightening and is quick as the droplets of rain that turns into blinding floods. Although, everything is not as black and white as we see. The flood of life in Marrakech illustrates to us what is really perceived. 

Q: How do you feel Marrakech has changed over the years? 

A: Marrakech has an immortal ageless beauty. It is a serene, confident, beautiful, cultural, cosmopolitan, tolerant, artistic, and especially a humanistic place in the world. When a place has such characters, it is difficult to notice any changes. I am blindly in love with Marrakech!