Ahmed El Maanouni’s 1981 documentary records concerts, interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the pioneering group, Nass El Ghiwan, which has been famously described by Martin Scorsese as ‘the Rolling Stones of North Africa’.
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There are not too many other music documentaries so focused on the music & yet so beautifully situated in context (sociopolitical, ethno-musicological, personal). Amidst the music of social protest, all the security guards; amidst the expression of popular yearning, the need to hire a copyright lawyer. In the dialectic between profession & self-expression, between change & tradition, the music finds itself & us
What's more exciting here is related to the amazing way the concert of Nass El-Ghiwane is filmed with a public in a fury of sharing and reception, and the way the group is framed, as if were cut through and out of that noisy and massive background, like Moroccans Rolling Stones and it is exactly that kind of "gimme shelter" what is most impressive in this film.
Amazing music accompanied by poetic, haunting images like the one of the pregnant woman dancing in trance. If I had been born in Casablanca, Morocco I would definitely have become a groupie of Nass El Ghiwane.
To my Western eye,I found "Trances" a difficult watch.However,in these difficult times,it is more important then ever to understand each other and our various ways!Perhaps culture(in particular film and music)is one way we can do this.The film focuses on Nass-El Ghiwane a group of Moroccan musicians,who through traditional trance music,poetry and theatre, express Moroccan culture,history and politics.Worth a watch.