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Shortlisted for the 2023 Academy Award® for International Feature Film.

The medina of Salé, one of the oldest in Morocco, is the setting for THE BLUE CAFTAN, the nuanced story of a husband and wife who create elegant, hand-embroidered robes (caftans or djellabas) in one of the city’s small, traditional shops. This subtle tale of romantic intrigue between two men (the tailor and his assistant), surprisingly focuses on the emotional life of the wife, played by Lubna Azabal (INCENDIES). With a delicate touch and exquisite eye for detail, director Maryam Touzani (who wrote the script with her partner, filmmaker Nabil Ayouch), illuminates both the precise craft of caftan-making (the garment is lovingly perfected throughout the film) and the unspoken yet deeply felt attraction between two men — in a country that criminalizes same-sex relationships.

With support from the R.G. Rifkind Foundation Endowment for Queer Cinema



“Mining sensuality from the depiction of involved handcraft, makes elegant human dramas… an exquisitely tender tribute to love in its purest expression… it feels like an utterly honest tale of romance.”
– Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times

“A significant and empathetic movie about homosexuality, marriage, and illness within a predominantly Muslim country… (with) fantastic use of ambient sound… in an atmosphere of authenticity and musicality. As Mina, Lubna Azabal maintains (a) commanding presence. Her face says it all and it’s a heartbreaking portrait of curiosity, acceptance, wish-fulfillment, and happiness. I was bowled over with emotion at its crescendo…. (with) a masterful, subversive close.”
– Carlos Sousa, New York Sun

“[A] luscious Moroccan drama…an ode to the many kinds of love that persist, even in an unforgiving world.”
– Devika Girish, The New York Times

“Scrupulous, compassionate, and quietly captivating”
– Glenn Kenny,

“A film of exquisite sensuality... transfixing delicacy and restraint… its supple rhythms hypnotic, its atmosphere potent and its prevailing hushed tone and intimate camerawork affording us the closest possible access to three characters who in turn are constantly studying one another… A film of overwhelming tenderness — in exchanged glances or tactile moments as fleeting as one hand lightly touching another.”
– David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“Entrancing. A nuanced and empathetic tale about sexuality and mortality… it’s Touzani’s exacting craftsmanship, and her interest in her actors’ expressive eyes that tunnels toward a wellspring of spontaneous emotion. Nothing short of brilliant, and the delicacy she imbues this story with is nothing short of potent. THE BLUE CAFTAN isn’t afraid to let romance be life-changing.”
– Robert Daniels,

“Stunning... a film about the many different kinds of love — romantic, platonic, familial, sexual — and the ways they can’t help but intersect at complicated moments in our lives... Working with an intricacy that rivals that of the craftsman at the center of her film, [Touzani] crafts a surprisingly warm story that subverts expectations at almost every turn. Delightful... a reminder that each human soul is worth a lifetime of exploration to someone. Remarkably sweet and life affirming. Anchored by three remarkable performances and a beautiful script that never wastes a line, Maryam Touzani made a film that oozes love from almost every frame.”
– Christian Zilko, IndieWire

“Beautifully textured... superbly acted and emotionally resonant. Sharply written by Touzani... a keenly tuned non-judgemental exploration of an enduring relationship. Lubna Azabal and Saleh Bakri have a gently cracking chemistry.”
– Jonathan Romney, Screen

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