Magazine article Screen International

'Headbang Lullaby': Berlin Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Headbang Lullaby': Berlin Review

Article excerpt

Surreal Moroccan farce about football, cranial trauma, and interminable waiting

Dir. Hicham Lasri. Morocco, France, Qatar, Lebanon. 2017. 111 mins

Moroccan director Hicham Lasri looks at his country's recent history through the eyes of an emotionally crippled government official sent on a Kafka-esque mission to patrol a bridge. The King may or may not drive under it at some point, however all Daoud (Aziz Hattab) can do is stand and wait. This surreal farce about football, cranial trauma and interminable waiting may be too culturally specific for its message to connect with audiences outside its immediate community.

Headbang Lullaby is a visually striking piece - a palette of teal blue, tangerine and sulphurous yellow sears itself onto the retina - and there is a certain amount of deadpan, oddball humour to be found. But while it should make an offbeat addition to festival programmes, the lack of clear focus and opaque message might prove a challenge for wider audiences.

Daoud, shown first playing a symbolic game of tennis in front of a hedge of symbolic cacti, has not been quite the same since he was hit on the head by a bottle during the bread riots of 1981. Five years later, he has a metal plate in his skull which causes televisions and radios to malfunction if he stands next to them. And, somewhat problematically for the central character in a film, his face, since his head injury, is unable to register any emotions.

A somewhat garbled message from his boss sends Daoud to a far-flung bridge which marks the boundary between two warring villages. …

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