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Tributes and Conversation with unveiled for the 19th Marrakech International Film Festival

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TRIBUTES

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In keeping with its tradition of celebrating cinema in all its diversity, the Marrakech International Film Festival will honour four great personalities in recognition of their brilliant careers. Iconic Scottish actress Tilda Swinton, renowned US filmmaker James Gray, Moroccan film pioneer and director Farida Benlyazid and Indian superstar Ranveer Singh will receive the Festival's Étoile d’or.

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IN CONVERSATION WITH

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Always one of the most hotly anticipated events of the Marrakech International Film Festival, the In Conversation With programme returns for a series of intense and exciting exchanges with leading personalities of world cinema. The programme features discussions with artists in front of the Marrakech audiences, during which they generously share their vision and practice of cinema through brilliant demonstrations and tasty anecdotes. This edition’s esteemed guests who will come to meet festival-goers are: magnificent British actor Jeremy Irons; talented and energetic French actress and director Julie Delpy; influential two-time Academy Award-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi; French filmmaker Julia Ducournau, the second woman to win a Palme d'or in the history of the Festival de Cannes; Bollywood superstar Ranveer Singh, to whom the Festival also pays tribute; US filmmaker and poet Jim Jarmusch; the omnipresent French actress Marina Foïs; Swedish director Ruben Östlund, winner of two Palme d'or; singular and rare French filmmaker Léos Carax; and Oscar-winning Franco-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared.  

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A singular Scottish performer and producer on the international cinema landscape, Tilda Swinton has amassed one of the most prodigious and unique filmographies of recent decades, alternating roles in demanding auteur films and Hollywood blockbusters. Faithful to the filmmakers whose paths she crosses, she has been the muse of Derek Jarman and then Luca Guadagnino, and regularly collaborates with Jim Jarmusch, Wes Anderson and Joanna Hogg. Capable of all manner of transformations, she moves easily among genres and characters, surprising and excelling in every case for over thirty years, Swinton has had an extraordinary career that makes her one of the most exciting figures of contemporary cinema.

 

“ To be honoured by the Marrakech film festival for which I have such admiration and affection is truly touching. To return 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 ” declared the Scottish actress and producer.

 

Discovered in the 1990s with his first film, Little Odessa, which he directed at the age of twenty-five, James Gray immediately established himself as one of the most gifted filmmakers of his generation. Author of several exceptional films, among them The YardsWe Own the Night and Two Lovers, James Gray has carved out a place for himself on the border between independent and studio cinema. An heir to the New Hollywood movement and an erudite cinephile, Gray is the author of a naturalistic and intimate body of work, marked by filial and amorous relationships, outsider characters and existential choices.

 

“ Thank you to the Marrakech Film Festival for presenting me with this very special honour, the Etoile d’or. I’m so thrilled that I also get to present my film Armageddon Time to filmgoers in Morocco. The film is a deeply personal one and not only reflects certain aspects of my youth but also looks ahead and portrays the enduring issues and inequities facing the world today. Thank you for recognising these themes, most of them present in all my films, and for honouring me in this way ” said Gray in an official statement.

 

A true pioneer of Moroccan cinema, Farida Benlyazid has to her credit many accomplishments that have made her a central figure in the nation’s cinema. She is the first Moroccan woman to produce a film, an accomplished screenwriter who has written several classics such as Poupées de roseauxBadis and Looking for My Wife’s Husband, and the director of a body of work that addresses issues of spirituality, the status of women in society and the quest for justice and truth. A free and independent artist, Benlyazid has paved the way for many Moroccan women directors who have looked to the director of A Door to the Sky and Women’s Wiles as an inspiration and a model.

 

“ I thank His Majesty King Mohammed VI for creating this beautiful festival that brings together members of the Moroccan film family with those from around the world. I thank His Royal Highness Moulay Rachid—it is a great honour to receive this tribute, after having been a member of the jury for the first edition of the Festival. And I thank all the organisers of the Festival for inviting me every year. I particularly like this Festival, which promotes the first and second works of filmmakers. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of seeing wonderful films, and the selection has always been excellent. It is with great emotion that I look forward to seeing you there. ” 

 

In the space of a decade, Ranveer Singh has had a meteoric rise to become one of the most celebrated actors in Bollywood and a star whose popularity extends beyond the borders of his home country. In Morocco, and in Marrakech in particular, Indian cinema has many admirers and Ranveer Singh is one of its most appreciated personalities. A versatile actor, he has delivered memorable performances in Gully Boy, a milestone film in his career, in which he plays an apprentice rapper from a disadvantaged neighbourhood, as well as in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's productions, including Bajirao Mastani, in which Singh plays an eighteenth-century emperor. Singh has shaken up the codes of Indian cinema with his unparalleled communicative energy, offering a new, flamboyant model of masculinity.

 

“ I’m deeply humbled and thrilled to be receiving a tribute which recognises my body of work along with this very, very special honour, the Etoile d’or! The notion that my craft has resonated in Africa is hugely gratifying! Its indicative of the fact 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. I cannot wait to be in Marrakesh to soak in the love of the people and express my gratitude to them. ”

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For more information

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Tributes

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In Conversation with

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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