One of the more warmly received features at this year’s Cannes Film Festival is the stirring relationship drama The Blue Caftan, a story of love, grief, and queer desire from Moroccan filmmaker Maryam Touzani.
The Blue Caftan follows the story of married couple, Halim (Saleh Bakri, from The Band’s Visit) and Mina (Lubna Azabal, known for her work in Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies) who run a traditional caftan shop in one of Morocco’s oldest city centers, where Halim carefully hand-sews garments for demanding clientele. To keep up with the work, the pair hires a handsome young apprentice, Youssef (Ayoub Messioui), and it’s not long before he and Halim find themselves making longing glances at one another from across the room.
Pulling at the threads of this mutual affection naturally causes some snags in Halim and Mina’s relationship, further complicated by Mina’s declining health. The Blue Caftan is a tender and heart-wrenching examination of this complex relationship triangle, spinning a moving queer narrative in the process.
Writer-director Touzani is no stranger to Cannes. Her debut feature Adam was lauded when it premiered in the festival’s Un Certain Regard section three years ago. Early reviews from the festival hail The Blue Caftan as another beautifully pitched drama from the filmmaker, further establishing her name as an international filmmaker to watch.
In The Hollywood Reporter‘s Cannes dispatch, writer David Rooney calls the film “a slow-burn yet richly emotional drama should land attention by virtue of the relative paucity of queer films in Maghreb cinema alone.” Rooney goes on to praise all three lead performances, calling it “a film of overwhelming tenderness.”
Watch an early trailer for Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan below. U.S. distribution details have yet to be announced, but we’ll be looking forward to updates soon.