Marrakech — The Marrakech International Film Festival kicked off its 12th edition Friday night with a tribute honoring Isabelle Huppert, one of the foremost French actresses of her time, who has starred in more than 90 film and TV productions since 1971.
"We are delighted to welcome Isabelle Huppert, who marked the French cinema," said the organizers of the festival before inviting the artist to appear before the Moroccan public, who loudly applauded.
"My true reward is going to meet the Moroccan public," said Huppert.
Huppert has appeared in 14 films that have been in the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and won the Best Actress Award twice, for Violette Nozière (1978) and La pianiste (2001). She is also the most nominated actress for the César Award, with 13 nominations. She won a César Award for Best Actress in 1996 for her performance in La Cérémonie.
The 12th edition of the festival (November 30 to December 8), headed by British director John Boorman, also paid special tribute to Indian cinema which is very popular in Morocco.
Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood superstar, was present Saturday night for the screening of one of his films in the famous Jamaa El Fna square, inscribed by UNESCO in 2001 as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
Before the screening, crowds gathered Friday night under the rain near the Palais des Congrès, where they attended the opening ceremony to applaud the celebrities.
Canada's Marie-Josée Croze, American director James Gray, the Moroccan Jillali Ferhati and the French Lambert Wilson composed the jury which will reward one of the fifteen feature films in competition.
Hindi Mood for Marrakech
Indian cinema is celebrating its centenary next year and the Marrakech International Film Festival will be the first to celebrate with a special tribute paid to Hindi cinema. For its 12th edition, the Festival will welcome the largest Indian delegation ever assembled at an international festival, and screen a great number of Hindi films throughout the week, including every night at the open-air screenings on the famous Jemaa El Fna Square, with some of Bollywood's greatest stars and filmmakers presenting their films to Moroccan audiences who are long-time Bollywood fans.
The delegation, led by veteran star Amitabh Bachchan, was honored during a tribute ceremony on Saturday, December 1st.
Following the sudden death of director and producer Yash Chopra, the Marrakech International Film Festival also paid tribute to this icon of Indian cinema, whose films include such classics as DEEWAAR (1975) - film that revealed actor Shah Rukh Khan; SILSILA (1981); LAMHE (1991); and more recently VEER-ZAARA (2004). In the words of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Yash Chopra "entertained many generations with his rare creativity and established the popularity of Indian cinema internationally."
During its tribute to Indian cinema, the Festival will screen Yash Chopra's last film, JAB TAK HAI JAAN staring Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma, in the presence of Shah Rukh Khan.
The 12th Marrakech International Film Festival celebrated its opening night with the premiere of "Touch of the Light," on November 30, 2012 in Marrakech, Morocco. The film was directed by Rong-ji Chang and stars Yung-yung Chang and Yu-Siang Huang.
Gracing the red carpet premiere were British Actress Gemma Arterton, French actress Melanie Laurent, French actress Julie Gayet, Canadian Actress Marie-Josee Croze, French Actress Isabelle Huppert, French actress Anne Marivin, French actress Anne Parillaud, Isabella Ferrari, Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan, Gerard Darmon, Chinese Director Zhang Yimou, Terence Stamp, Christophe Guillarme, Asmaa Khamlichi, Actress Huang Yu-Siang, Director Chang Jung-Chi, actress Marisa Berenson, French actress Axelle Laffont, Jean-Claude Darmon, French director Claude Lelouche, Emir Kusturica and Director of the Marrakech International Film Festival Melita Toscan du Plantier.
The 15 films in the 2012 competition are:
A HIJACKING (KAPRINGEN)
Denmark - 2nd film
by Tobias Lindholm starring Søren Malling and Pilou Asbæk
Lebanon, France and Belgium
by Ziad Doueiri starring Ali Suliman and Karim Saleh
by Rafaël Ouellet starring Stéphane Breton, Julien Poulin and Patrice Dubois
South Korea - 1st film
by Lee Don-ku starring Nam Yeon-woo and Kim Hee-seong
FLOWER BUDS (POUPATA)
Czech Republic - 1st film
by Zdenek Jirasky starring Vladimír Javorsky, Malgorzata Pikus...
GONE FISHING (DÍAS DE PESCA)
by Carlos Sorín starring Alejandro Awada and Victoria Almeida
HORSES OF GOD (YA KHAYL ALLAH)
Morocco, France and Belgium
by Nabil Ayouch starring Abdelhakim Rachid, Abdelilah Rachid, Hamza Souidek, Ahmed El Idrissi Amrani
India - 2nd film
by Kamal K. M. starring Geetanjali Thapa
LITTLE LION (COMME UN LION)
France - 1st film
by Samuel Collardey starring Mitri Attal, Jean-François Stévenin and Marc Barbé
Estonia - 1st film
by Toomas Hussar starring Raivo E. Tamm, Juhan Ulfsak and Elina Reinold
Germany - 1st film
by Jan Ole Gerster starring Tom Schilling and Friederike Kempter
Iran - 2nd film
by Vahid Vakilifar starring Mohammad Rabbanipour
TOUCH OF THE LIGHT (NI GUANG FEI HSIANG)
Taiwan - 1st film - OPENING FILM
by Chang Jung-Chi starring Sandrine Pinna and Huang Yu-hsiang
United States, United Kingdom and Cuba - 1st film
by Lucy Mulloy starring Dariel Arrechaga, Analilín de la Rúa de la Torre and Javier Núñez Florián
by Nour-Eddine Lakhmari starring Younès Bouab, Mohamed Majd, Zineb Samara, Sonia Okacha, Saïd Bey, Malika Hamadoui and Ouidad Elma