This year – our 26th! – the Arab Film Festival opens on November 11 with The Blue Caftan, a beautiful and moving film from writer/director Maryam Touzani, who will join us in person in San Francisco.
Ready to fest? Get your opening night tickets here.

The film tells the story of Halim and Mina, a couple who runs 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. And slowly Mina realizes how much her husband is moved by the presence of the young man.

Director Maryam Touzani was born in Tangier, Morocco and studied journalism in London. After graduation she worked as a journalist in Morocco, specializing in North African cinema. She wrote and directed her first documentary in 2008 and in 2012 made her first short fiction film, When they slept, which won 17 awards. Her feature film debut, Adam (2019), won 30 awards. The film was chosen to represent Morocco at the Oscars and the Golden Globes. In 2019, Maryam Touzani became a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures.

Writer/Director Maryam Touzani will join us in person on November 11 for Opening Night of the 26th Arab Film Festival in San Francisco

The Blue Caftan sees Maryam Touzani work again with Adam‘s cinematographer Virginie Surdej.  Surdej infuses the film with sensual and beautiful images that capture the poignant feelings of everyday life, alongside the exquisite craftsmanship that goes into making caftans. The themes of love, loss, and old vs. new infuse the movie. Touzani went to great lengths to capture the inner lives of her characters through the film’s meticulous details. Lead actors Lubna Azabal, Saleh Bakri, Ayoub Messioui bring such humanity and depth to their characters, one cannot help but feel alongside them as the story unfolds.

Kristy Strouse wrote for Film Inquiry that “The acting was superb, and the story wonderfully poignant. Patient and carefully crafted, it’s about the complexities of love and craft. One of the best films of 2022.”

The Blue Caftan is Morocco’s official submission to the Oscars and won the prestigious Fipresci Award at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

AFF2022 Opening Night Film: The Blue Caftan
Where: at the legendary Castro Theatre in San Francisco
When: November 11, 2022 at 7 pm
Who: with special in-person appearance by writer/director Maryam Touzani!

Get your tickets here. Or better yet, check out our AFF2022 festival passes!