27 February 2015 | paul-allaer
"You are 25, with no job and no husband."
"Traitors" (2013 release from Morocco; 83 min.) brings the story of Malika, a 25 yr. old woman in Tangiers, Morocco. As the movie opens, we see an all-girl punk band (named Traitors) during band practice as Malika wails "I am bored with Morocco!". A producer gets wind of the band, and when Malika meets the producer, the producer suggests recoding a demo in a professional studio. Of course, that is quite expensive and none of the Traitors girls can afford it. Malika, determined to grab this opportunity come hell or high water, decides to become a driver for a local drug gang so as to earn the necessary amount of money to go into the recording studio. As this point we are about 15-20 min. into the movie, but to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the feature-length debut from writer-director Sean Gullette, best known for his acting (in movies such as Pi and Requiem For a Dream). Gullette made "Traitors" first as a shortie (more on that later). There are two main aspects to this movie: on the one hand, how a free-spirit punk rocker girl like Malika can survive in a conservative society as Morocco (at one point Malika's dad exasperates "You are 25, with no job and no husband. Don't you know what people think about that?"), and on the other hand the drug-gang related story line. From my perspective the society-related aspects work much better, and frankly also resonate deeper. Chaimae Ben Acha in the role of Malika brings a commanding break-out performance, just beautiful. Bottom line: "Traitors" is a fine movie, and I pretty much enjoyed it from start to finish. Not to mention that at just over 80 min., this flew by in no time.
"Traitors" is the February, 2015 release from Film Movement's on-going DVD-of-the-Month club of foreign and indie movies. As is always the case, the DVD comes with a bonus shortie, and this time we get the original "Traitors" (2011 release; 31 min.), and it's quite interesting to see which elements were transposed from the original shortie to the feature-length, and which didn't. Bottom line: "Traitors" is a worthy addition to the ever-growing Film Movement catalog of foreign and indie movies.