Film: Jemaa El Fna: Morocco's Rendezvous of the Dead

World music documentary
Thursday, 4/4/2024
3:00 - 4:00
Golden Gate Valley Meeting Room
Golden Gate Valley

1801 Green Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
United States

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"Jemaa El Fna," the massive central square in Marrakesh, is where Morocco's ancient history manifests daily in a perpetual cycle of mysterious sight and sound. "Jemaa El Fna" can be translated as "Meeting Place of the Dead," a suitably chilling phrase which conjures an aura of exoticism and savage justice to an otherwise fully functional public square that has continued unabated for centuries.

By day it serves as a venue where magicians, fortune tellers, herbalists, acrobats, monkey handlers, snake charmers, dentists, astrologers, numerologists and sorcerers create intriguing displays of bewitching spectacle. By night, the square transforms into a symphony of mystical brotherhoods and nocturnal musicians: the Aissoua, Derkaoua, Hamadasha, Jilila and Gnaoua. Free from the restrictions and expectations of light entertainment for a tourist crowd, this "Rendezvous of the Dead" is where the performances animate the audience and musicians alike into an elevated spiritual congress colliding in sonorous ecstasy. Directed by Hisham Mayet.

NR, 50 min., 2003. No narration.

No longer available on DVD, this program is made possible with the kind permission of Sublime Frequencies.


Watch party and film discussions. 

Enjoy performances, talks and workshops that celebrate movement and the musical arts.

This program honors the diverse cultures, traditions and histories of Southwest Asian and North African heritage.

This program is sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

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