Part glossy thriller, part subversive comedy, this film is anything but conventional, as it touches on a remote corner of the political agenda: the U.S./Moroccan connection. Framed by the ’81 and ’84 riots in Casablanca (when people demonstrated their opposition to the war in the Western Sahara, especially to the existence and treatment of political prisoners), its aim is to make people aware of the much ignored political situation in the Western Sahara.
However, the film never enlightens the audience about the players in the Western Sahara, so we get the feeling from this leftist propaganda piece that the political prisoners are the good guys and the pro-American Moroccan government is the villain. Actually, the Polisario, or rebels, are an archaic group of Marxist revolutionaries supported by Cuba, the only totalitarian socialist country which hasn’t admitted the failure of the confused theories of the Nineteenth Century misanthrope Karl Marx. The Polisario was supported by Algeria, but the government of Algeria now admits the failure of socialism and is moving toward a Western market economy, so two years ago they made peace with Morocco and withdrew support from the rebels. The U.N. is sponsoring a referendum in Western Sahara to determine whether that desert land will stay in Morocco, or become a separate country. Since Western Sahara has no resources except sand, phosphate and some coastal fishing, most political observers believe that the Western Saharans will choose to stay part of Morocco for economic reasons if nothing else. Like people throughout the world, very few West Saharans want the Marxist Polisario in control since that will only mean another impoverished, feudalistic totalitarian system like Ethiopia, or one of the other African socialist disasters which have raped previously self-sufficient countries. With the recent example of SWAPO (the South West Africa People’s Organization), the darling of the looney left media in the United States, moving Namibia rapidly into the same socialist feudal system, wherein the nomenclatura government officials receives villas and Mercedes while the people starve fed only by Marxist slogans, it seems cruel to persist in promoting the cause of communist rebels. In fact, even the Polisario is moving away from extreme Marxism toward a more ambiguous worldview. Thus, the film is out of date. At any rate, the film opens in Casablanca with Mouallem, a young woman from a Moroccan dissident group, preparing to leave for Washington, D.C., with documents that will attest to the fact that her student brother is one of many political prisoners in Morocco. As Mouallem searches in Washington for Katrina, a journalist, a second search is underway: a Moroccon Envoy seeks a secluded Virginia mansion as a recluse for his royal boss.
As the story continues, the journalist Katrina is revealed to be the lover of the coveted mansion’s owner, Hans. While Mouallem attempts to deliver the documents to Katrina, Katrina herself struggles to publish articles to defame the Moroccon monarch’s reputation. She juggles the demands of her work and political conscience with her feelings for Hans. Hans, confused about his life’s goals, considers giving up the mansion.
After numerous misadventures, the Envoy finally makes it to the estate. His offer to purchase the property unleashes a family controversy. Rumors compete with facts, and the mood becomes anxious. At this point, Mouallem resurfaces and finds Katrina. Katrina gets the story published, and much to the Envoy’s chagrin, Hans refuses to let him have his house — a tribute to optimism and his character’s ability to transcend class allegiances (a looney notion in the fluid social scene of the US).
The film tries to translate strong political awareness into individual dilemmas by illustrating how a political event far away touches people who appear to be unrelated to it. Does it work? Not really. The film’s structure is woven together from strands of parallel action, perhaps so much so, that it loses viewers in the process. Basically, the film does not warrant the amount of concentration needed to watch it. Furthermore, the political and social worldview of the film is so askew to current events, common sense and the Truth of Scripture, that it seems strange to waste money supporting such tripe.
Though there was ample opportunity, the decision to exclude violence and explicit sex from this avant-garde type of film earns it some praise. It could have earned more had it left out the pre-marital sex which is implied between Katrina and Hans. It also could have done without the use of a few four-letter words. Consequently, film is not worth your while.
Few obscenities and implied promiscuity INTENDED AUDIENCE: Adults