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‘The Blue Caftan’ Becomes Biggest Moroccan Box Office Hit Overseas

Maryam Touzani‘s “The Blue Caftan,” a drama revolving around the love between a closeted man and his wife, has sold more than 500,000 tickets around the world.

The Arabic-language movie, which world premiered at Cannes in 2022 and won the Fipresci prize, has become the Moroccan film that sold the most admissions overseas in recent history, according to French promotion org Unifrance.

Produced by veteran Moroccan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch (“Casablanca Beats,” “Much Loved”), “The Blue Caftan” stars Lubna Azabal (“Incendies”) and Saleh Bakri (“Costa Brava, Lebanon”).

Touzani’s follow-up to Un Certain Regard title “Adam,” “The Blue Caftan” tells the story of Halim and Mina, a married couple running a traditional caftan store in one of Morocco’s oldest medinas. In order to keep up with the commands of the demanding customers, they hire Youssef. The talented apprentice shows an utmost dedication in learning the art of embroidery and tailoring from Halim. Slowly Mina realizes how much her husband is moved by the presence of the young man.

Touzani previously described “The Blue Caftan” as being “above all a film about love, about the freedom to be who you are, to love who you want to love.”

“The Blue Caftan” became the first Moroccan film ever making it to the Oscars shortlist and won more than 45 awards at major international festivals, including the Jury Prize (tied with “Alma Viva”) at the Marrakech International Film Festival in 2022. The film also accolades at Seattle, Chicago, Angoulême and Göteborg festivals, among others.

The movie was sold by Films Boutique across more than 30 territories, including the U.S. with Strand Releasing, and has just reached 500,000 admissions outside of Morocco, according to Unifrance, the French film promotion org.

“The Blue Caftan” was particularly successful in France, where it sold 214,000 admissions, followed by the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Japan.

Ayouch, who previously directed and produced several thought-provoking films such as “Much Loved,” said “The Blue Caftan” offers a “deeply moving gaze into the stifled homosexuality of a man within his marriage and questions our definition of love.” Ayouch’s 2015 movie “Much Loved,” which explored prostitution in Morocco, ranks as the second biggest Moroccan film export with 339,000 admissions sold abroad.

“Blue Caftan” was produced by Ayouch’s Ali n’ Productions in Morocco, Les Films du Nouveau Monde in France, Velvet in Belgium and Snowglobe in Denmark.

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