Director Asmae El Moudir of “THE MOTHER OF ALL LIES” (Morocco’s Oscar submission for Best International Feature and Best Documentary Feature) opens past historical secrets and creates a docfilm through a shoestring budget

By Oliver Carnay

A special screening of “THE MOTHER OF ALL LIES,” Morocco’s official Oscar submission for Best International Feature and Best Documentary Feature was held at the Soho House in West Hollywood on November 6 (Sunday) followed by a Q&A with Director Asmae El Moudir, moderated by Matt Carey.

Director Asmae El Moudir won the Golden Eye and Un Certain Regard for Best Director at Cannes Film Festival for her documentary film, reliving her family secret not heard for decades.  The film also won the Golden Athena Award for Best Documentary at Athens International Film Festival, as well as winning the Documentaire Extraordinaire at Bergen International Award.  
It is a moving docfilm about the film director and her family’s secret trauma that affected everyone in their neighborhood.  A public protest over the price of bread in the early 90’s turned into a bloodbath that killed many residents and was covered by the state.  No historical records were printed but a single black and white picture exists.  Seething with the goal to create the docfilm she wants, with technical originality and polished storytelling skills, director El Moudir, having a shoestring budget, persuaded her father, a sculptor, to build a model set of their house as seen from the street, a dollhouse that shows the apartments interior and the wider neighborhood.  As Asmae narrates and recollects what happened, two important neighbors (Said and Abdalla), and her mother, who first refused to participate on camera, she delves figurines to represent her family, friends, neighbors, and everything to create a kind of therapeutic healing and needed closure with their long dormant Moroccan story.
A reception was held downstairs at BOA Steakhouse after the screening and Q&A.