France, Morocco | 80 MINUTES | French, Arabic, Berberian |
In his will, the head of a Moroccan family, who had immigrated to northern France in the '60s, expresses his wish to be buried in his native village. When he dies, his son Nordine (Roschdy Zem) has no choice but to accompany his father's casket on its final journey since, in a traditional, tribal system, the father's word is law. He arrives in Morocco, a land he knows about only through the idealized stories he was told as a child, armed with but a few words of Arabic and knowing even less about the man who raised him. This beautifully observed road movie traces a journey that begins as obligation and ends as revelation, one Nordine will make accompanied by a young woman, Nora (Aure Atika), whom he meets along the way. She will be not so much the movie's customary "love interest" as Nordine's way of learning about a softer side of the culture he's exploring. The film's title, Tenja, is the Berber word for Tangiers, the beautiful Northern Moroccan city that lies so close to Europe that Spain can be glimpsed from its shore. Part of a new movement in Moroccan cinema, this film dares to look at traditional culture, and to imagine it after the death of the Father.