Belfast Film Festival

12th – 21st April 2018

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The Sea Is Behind

Directed by Hicham Lasri

A cross-dressing troubadour who performs traditional dances on the back of a horse-drawn cart is shunned by those around him.

Crippled by inertia, Tarik is unable to shed a tear about the loss of his children, or that his life is in ruins. Instead he shrouds his moustache under a veil and sways his hips to the music as the procession moves down the street. Tarik’s father, who leads the parade down the empty Moroccan streets, bawls his eyes out when his beloved cart horse Larbi refuses to go on, and combs his mane lovingly with his dentures. Tarik’s ex-wife’s bruiser of a partner installs himself in Tarik’s toilet. Is there really something in the water, as everyone claims? Or is it all in Tarik’s mind?

In his third feature film, Hicham Lasri tells us, in surreally beautiful black-and-white images, about traditions and trance, intolerance and violence, friendship and flesh and blood. And about animal love – albeit possibly inappropriate. Aided by raucous Moroccan rock music, Lasri composes a truly modern Maghrebi cinematic experience which poses challenging questions about political freedom and self-expression in contemporary North Africa.