Taxi Casablanca at the Calgary International Film Festival

October 4, 2010 § 1 Comment

A thoughtful review from the Calgary Film Festival Blog, written by Shannon McClennan. Thank you Shannon! It was a fabulous and enthusiastic audience in attendance, making this indie filmmaker most grateful. 

Driving for freedom – Taxi Casablanca


“For Zakia, driving the taxi affirms her identity as a free woman.”

Taxi Casablanca follows Zakia Mezzour, Morocco’s first – and only – female taxi driver, as she navigates the high-speed traffic of Casablanca. She is a brave, determined woman who, after being denied a taxi license on the basis of her sex, wrote letters to the royal family, members of government and other figures of influence, petitioning for her right to work in her chosen field. After a year of perseverance, Zakia was granted her prized ‘white shark’ 19070’s Mercedes.          

Morocco is said to be one of the most progressive Middle Eastern countries, so far as women’s rights are concerned. In 2004, King Mohammed VI passed the family law code which officially recognized women, as of age 18, as legal entities for the first time. The law granted women greater rights during divorce, changed the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18, placed restrictions on polygamy and gave women the right to marry without the consent of a male guardian. However, societal expectations around marriage and family, the stigma that accompanies divorce, issues of poverty and lack of education make taking advantage of these legal rights challenging for many women.

Sharing the taxi with her ex-husband, Zakia has spent upwards of five hours a day behind the wheel for more than eight years. Opinions toward her chosen career range from surprise, to support, to staunch disapproval. By the encouragement of her supporters, and determined to prove her detractors wrong, Zakia goes about her day. She seems to take genuine pleasure in driving, even if it’s at someone else’s behest.

In the face of religious and societal traditions, Zakia takes a powerful stand against Morocco’s approved cultural norms. Her courage has proven to be an inspiration for other women in the city. “When I see this woman driving, it’s as if I’m driving,” says one female passenger. “I would love to have that opportunity. To get to that place, you had to show men there’s nothing women can’t do. And it’s true!”

The film covers several broad themes in one fell swoop – women’s rights, poverty, education, domestic abuse and employment. Along with the varied applications in academia – women studies, cultural studies, and economic studies – the film is an intelligent and interesting choice for casual observers.

You can catch Taxi Casablanca, part of the Beyond Borders series, at 2pm on Wednesday, September 29th at the EMMEDIA Gallery.


§ One Response to Taxi Casablanca at the Calgary International Film Festival

  • John Latchana says:

    Hi Mary,
    Hope the showing went well. I’d love to see your film. Is there a site that it can be downloaded from?

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