A documentary project inFezby Joe Lukawski
Why Water? Because it is humanity’s most vital resource. Period.
Why Fez? The advancement of clean-water technologies and sustainable practices in urban planning and design surrounding water have recently emphasized Morocco, and Fez in particular, as a site where new urban solutions can yield significant socio-economic benefits. Its current location chosen by Moulay Idriss II for the river running through, Fez has been celebrated for its history with water – its ornately tiled fountains, the nearby spas at Moulay Yacoub and Sidi Harazem, and the sounds of water coursing through medieval underground channels at night.
Today, however, the river suffers from pollution. The historic water system is in disrepair, damaging Fez’s buildings as the damp rises. Tales of homes collapsing, in part due to excessive moisture, feature regularly in the Moroccan press. In a crowded cityscape, the poor state of a rare resource’s infrastructure has major socio-economic ramifications. State-supplied water is now expensive for many, and the cost is rising alonside the threat to Fez’s urban heritage. This film will explore the role of water in Fez’s urban tradition and the problems with disrepair and access to clean water that many medina inhabitants face everyday. It will also follow international and local actors as they conceive of aFez where the river once again flows clear.
The film – Les Eaux Cachées will combine an ethnographic-leaning documentary approach with the creativity and aesthetics of Fez‘s over 1200 year history. We will be consulting Fassi photographer Omar Chennafi throughout the production to capture the essence of Fez in filming urban scenes and in a new approach to historical re-enactment. The film will not only speak to experts and expats (who have become keen on restoring old houses), but to the people of Fez, all of whom have stories to share, and some of whom have decades of experience in dealing with the waters of Fez.
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