Finland, France, Morocco 2020
78 minutes
directed by: Mohamed El Abudi

Morocco. Vast desert. People living under tents. And a house like a grain of sand, the grain that becomes a pearl in a shell.

Mohamed El Aboudi comes to his native Morocco to follow a young teacher who arrives to the wasteland and tries to establish a school among the nomads - a school for children who by birth are not meant for education, yet only to repeat the lives of their fathers and mothers. This is the story of a name inscribed above the door of the small house in the desert, a name that brings joy, arouses curiosity, triggers children’s play and opens the way to new knowledge. The film introduces us to fascinating, cruel landscapes with a few people and children, while they carry together the centuries-old burden inscribed in the books of ancestral laws. Mohamed El Aboudi, with great talent of documentary observer, in a refined manner, discreetly, carefully not to interrupt the newly created sensitive bonds between the teacher and his students, reveals a whole world hidden behind tradition and customs, behind strict laws of survival. Gradually and always with respect, the author approaches school, classes and wonderful moments of school breaks, but also parents and families, their everyday routine, as well as dramatic events in which all fears about the survival of hope become fears about the survival of the community, nature, planet. Collisions of desires and prohibitions, games and obligations, joys and worries build an unusual saga of striking scenes and characters testifying how precious is the striving for new knowledge. A saga about strivings that are the only ones that truly change the world.

An enchanting documentary made about the school as a wonderful saving oasis.

Mohamed El Abudi

Born in 1961 in Morocco. He graduated in 1991 from the theatre group at the University of Fez and received his master's degree in 1997 from Bond University in Australia in the field of film and television. He lives and works in Finland. In 2006, Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE named him the best and most experienced director in the field of documentary film. He has made more than 30 short documentaries screened at Prix Europe and other festivals. He made his first feature-length documentary in 2012. The film premiered at the Locarno Film Festival, where it was awarded. In 2013, he received the highest Finnish state quality award for documentary and fiction.

Selected filmography

  • 2020 School of Hope
  • 2012 Dance of Outlaws