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Ahmed El Maanouni, Al Hal [Trances]

The African Film Institute presents
Ahmed El Maanouni’s Al Hal [Trances]
Thursday, April 18 at 7pm

172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Ahmed El Maanouni’s Al Hal [Trances] is a classic of Moroccan cinema and a compelling introduction to it. While presenting itself as a music documentary on the iconic band Nass El Ghiwane, it is also a film about friendship and collaboration, archival memory, the anti-colonial imagination, and working-class life in Casablanca.

The African Film Institute is pleased to invite you to e-flux Screening Room on Thursday, April 18 at 7pm for a rare evening with El Maanouni, curated by, and in conversation with, Omar Berrada.

The evening is co-presented with e-flux

Ahmed El MaanouniAl Hal [Trances] (1981, 88 minutes)
Of all the art forms in 1970s and ’80s Morocco, music was perhaps the most potent, aesthetically and politically. Nass El Ghiwane epitomized the period, both for the way they reclaimed popular storytelling and African musical traditions, and for the way they voiced people’s desire for freedom. In Al Hal, as El Maanouni follows them through a series of electrifying concerts, documenting the kind of trance they induce in their audiences. At the same time, by showing the revered musicians in their humble quotidianness, he paints the poignant portrait of a generation. All the while, through a deft use of archival images, he traces colonial echoes in the present, giving historical depth to the narration. Both a concert movie and a free-form audiovisual experiment, Trances is pure cinematic poetry.

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–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.
–For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.


Ahmed El Maanouni is a writer, director, cinematographer, and producer born in Casablanca in 1944. Among his essential works are Alyam Alyam (1978), the first Moroccan film to be selected at the Cannes Film Festival and winner of the 7e Art prize at FESPACO in Ouagadougou; and Al Hal [Trances] (1981), which was the first movie to be restored by the World Cinema Project in 2007. Among his other works are the feature films Burned Hearts (2007) and Fadma (2017), as well as The Paths of Freedom (2015-16), a documentary trilogy that tells the story of the Moroccan struggle for independence through the experience of families.

Omar Berrada is a writer and curator whose work focuses on the politics of translation and intergenerational transmission. He is the author of the poetry collection Clonal Hum (2020), and the editor or co-editor of several books, including La Septième Porte, a posthumously published history of Moroccan cinema by Ahmed Bouanani (2020). He is currently studying racial dynamics in North Africa while living in New York.

The African Film Institute aims to create a home and a place of intimacy with African cinema in New York, through developing gradually and organically a viewing program animated by fellowships; a growing library; an active writers’ room; and an expanding catalog of recorded dialogs. The African Film Institute draws from the visual cultures that view cinema as an evening school: a popular information system in the service of education, aesthetic experience, and public dissemination—employing a methodology concerning the use of cinema’s collective production, and investing in viewing methods informed by different uses of time, visual and textual histories, and social struggles and hopes in mutuality between their own locality and the world at large. The African Film Institute is convened by Christian Nyampeta and hosted by e-flux Screening Room.