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Connecting the Disconnect: Music and its Agency in Moroccan Cinema's Judeo-Muslim Interactions

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Elbaz, Vanessa Paloma 


This chapter disentangles the multifaceted use of music as a quasi-personified embodied entity in the relationship of connection and disconnection in cinema and live performance. I explore the various ways in which music is used as a third party in what is usually perceived as a binary relationship to connect characters that would have otherwise been disconnected because of societal, political or religious norms. I explore the idea of music as a recurring central character in Moroccan cinema that permits Jewish and Muslim men and women to connect across established communal divides. Multiple Moroccan films on Jews after 2005 have used music as their main catalyst for connection when depicting the time before, during and after Jewish emigration. Often counterpointed with love affairs across religious boundaries or the painful moments tearing Jewish Moroccans from the daily fabric of the country’s life between the 1950s and 1970, music appears repeatedly as a disembodied character whose presence changes and charges the plot. When placing these films in the context of their impact on the contemporary social discourse, music’s central role is further understood. As an offshoot and probable consequence stemming from the cinematic conversation, public performances in contemporary Casablanca feature Jewish male singers performing humorous songs in Judeo-Arabic that mock common tensions in marriage. These performances use humor to break apart what is perceived as a solid front of union: the Jewish couple. This connects the Jewish singers to their Muslim audience solely on the base of gender regardless of their religious affiliation.



Connecting the Disconnect: Music and its Agency in Moroccan Cinema's Judeo-Muslim Interactions


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Jewish-Muslim Interactions Performing Cultures between North Africa and France

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Liverpool University Press




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European Research Council (758221)