The focus of this documentary is a small mountain village in Morocco, in an area known asthe Rif. Long a centre of hashish cultivation, the region has recently seen that industry take overeverything. We follow the lives of the villagers, and see the cultivation, preparation and selling ofthe drug. There is no narration, and the camera makes no overt judgment about what we areseeing, but the to-the-camera monologues by the villagers leave one with plenty to thinkabout.
This is one of those discs were sound and picture quality seem rather beside the point.Nonetheless, the sound here is very clear, and there are even some surround elements with themusic and the sound of wind and the like. Any surround at all is a bonus, given the unavoidableseat-of-the-pants nature of the filmmaking.
The movie was shot on video, and again, aesthetic considerations are really irrelevant here. The picture is certainly pretty sharp and clear as far as it goes, and even the night scenes aren’tbad, all things considered. The format is 1.85:1 and isn’t anamorphic, but when the zoom isapplied to make it fit a 16×9 screen, the subtitles are still clearly visible, thus avoiding a problemthat plagues many similarly formatted pictures.
There are four deleted scenes, and three single-screen essays — “The Rif” (about the area),“The Director” and “The Producer.” The menu is scored.
This isn’t a crowd-pleasing documentary like Spellbound, but it is serious work, anddeserves attention.
Special Features List
- Deleted Scenes
- 3 Essays