The Blue Caftan (2022)

The Blue Caftan (2022)

A delicate and moving portrait of pure love

The Very Best

8.0

Movie

Belgium, Denmark
Arabic, French
Drama, Romance
2022
FEMALE DIRECTOR, MARYAM TOUZANI
Lubna Azabal, Saleh Bakri, Zakaria Atifi
122 min

What it's about

Halim has been married to Mina for a long time, with whom he runs a traditional caftan store in the medina (old town) of Salé, Morocco. The couple has always lived with Halim's secret – his homosexuality – about which he has learned to keep quiet. However, Mina's illness and the arrival of a young apprentice upsets this balance. United in their love, each will help the other face his fears.

The take

Set in one of Morocco’s oldest medinas, Blue Caftan is a tender portrayal of pure love and the different forms it takes. It follows traditional tailor Halim (Saleh Bakri) and his wife Mina (Lubna Azabal) who, despite their imperfect marriage, prove their affection in small but moving ways. He peels tangerines for her and washes her hair, she preps his meals and defends his craft from demanding customers. When a third person, Youssef (Ayoub Missioui), enters the picture, even more manifestations of passion (and the lack and longing and excess of it) emerge. 

It’s a dramatic film, but never overly so. Like the silky fabric Halim handles with expert care, it’s rich but soft, detailed but delicate. In the face of poverty, sickness, and discrimination, the film mines moments of joy, friendship, and pleasure, subverting the expectation that tragic circumstances must mean tragic outcomes. 

Blue Caftan, even in its saddest moments—and there are plenty—is a film full of love, made even more memorable by the deft performances and palpable chemistry of its three leads.

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