Former rapper Anas (Anas Basbousi) takes a job at a cultural centre in Sidi Moumen, a working-class neighbourhood in Casablanca. Encouraged by their new teacher, his students try to liberate themselves from the burden of restrictive traditions and express themselves through hip-hop. A personal project for director Nabil Ayouch, Casablanca Beats was shot over two years at a centre that he co-founded and stars a charismatic group of teenagers who were real life students in a class called The Positive School of Hip Hop. When not honing their rhyming skills, the kids debate the meaning and purpose of rap music, whether it is a medium for pure self-expression and empowerment, or a weapon for societal and political change. Some kids speak their mind without parental consent, pushing the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable discourse in a prohibitive society.
Notes by David O Mahony