The 2022 Marrakech Film Festival will pay tribute to talents from four continents this year, with Scottish actor Tilda Swinton, US director James Gray, Bollywood superstar Ranveer Singh and pioneering Moroccan filmmaker Farida Benlyazid all receiving the festival’s Étoile d’or, or Golden Star, honour for their contributions to cinema.
Swinton, an Oscar winner for Michael Clayton (2007), most recently appeared in a doppelgänger performance as a film-maker and her own elderly mother in Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter, her third film with the British director. In a statement, Swinton called the Étoile d’or honor “truly touching. To return [to Marrakech] to celebrate with my friends this exceptional forum for world cinema and the perpetual global fellowship of film love with the beautiful audience there will be a pure joy for which I am deeply grateful.”
Veteran filmmaker Gray, whose credits include Little Odessa (1994), We Own The Night (2007), and Ad Astra (2019), will screen his latest, Armageddon Time at the Marrakech festival. Gray said he was thrilled to be able to present what he called his “deeply personal” film to audiences in Morocco. The semi-autobiographical story, set in 1980s Queens, is a coming-of-age tale that revolves around a fatal decision made by a sixth grader that will haunt him forever.
“[The film] not only reflects certain aspects of my youth but also looks ahead and portrays the enduring issues and inequities facing the world today,” said Gray.
Indian actor Singh, star of Bajirao Mastani (2015), Padmaavat (2018) and Gully Boy (2019) has been a transformational force in Bollywood cinema, providing a new image of masculinity on screen. Saying he was “deeply humbled and thrilled” to be honored in Marrakech, Singh added it was “hugely gratifying” that his films have resonated in Africa. “Its indicative of the fact that that my work has been able to transcend geographical and cultural borders. For a humble artiste, who wishes to bring people together through entertainment, this is greatly rewarding.”
For local cineastes, Benlyazid needs no introduction. A pioneer and central figure in Moroccan cinema, she was the first Moroccan woman to produce a film (Jill Ferhati’s A Breach in the Wall in 1978), penned the screenplays to such features as Ferhati’s Poupées de roseaux (1981) and Badis (1989) from Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi, and directed numerous documentaries and narrative features, including A Door to the Sky (1989) and Women’s Wiles (1999). She thanked Moroccan King Mohammed VI “for creating this beautiful festival that brings together members of the Moroccan film family with those from around the world,” noting she was on the jury of the first-ever Marrakech festival back in 2001 and has been a guest ever since.
Other international film notables attending Marrakech this year include actors Jeremy Irons and Julie Delpy; Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) and Palme d’Or winners Julia Ducournau (Titane) and Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness), indie film legends Jim Jarmusch (Strangers in Paradise, Paterson) and Léos Carax (Holy Motors, Annette), and the Oscar-winning composer the omnipresent French actor Marina Foïs; Swedish director Ruben Östlund, winner of two Palmes d’Or; singular and rare French filmmaker Léos Carax; and Oscar-winning Franco-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared (The English Patient, The Talent Mr. Ripley).
The 19th Marrakech International Film Festival runs Nov. 11-19.