Moroccan film director charged with ‘pornography'

Nabil Ayouch was summoned to court over his latest film, which discusses prostitution in Morocco

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The director of the controversial Moroccan film “Much Loved,” that addresses the Muslim country’s sex industry, has been summoned to court this week on charges of “pornography, indecency and inciting minors to debauchery,” local media reported.

Director Nabil Ayouch, and lead actress Loubna Abidar, who plays a prostitute, are to stand before the court of instance in Marrakesh on July 15 to defend the allegedly “immoral” content of the film, according to Morocco World News.

“Much Loved” (“Zine Li Fik” in Moroccan Arabic) chronicles the daily life of four female sex workers in the touristy Moroccan city of Marrakech.

The risqué film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last month, hit a raw nerve in Morocco after several clips including explicit sex were leaked online.

People accused the film of containing pornographic scenes, in which Ayouch has exploited minor girls, reported Morocco World News.

The film was also accused of giving the illusion income could be generated through homosexuality, prostitution, human trafficking, sex tourism and the exploitation of minors, reported the news website citing an unnamed source.

Thousands set up Facebook pages calling for a ban of the movie and accused it of being “offensive to Moroccan women,” reported the BBC. The heroine has reportedly been targeted with death threats for showing her naked bottom in the film.

The Moroccan government has banned the movie in advance of its planned autumn release. Minister of Communication Mustapha el-Khalfi said the film has undermined “the moral values and dignity of Moroccan women and is a flagrant attack on the kingdom’s image.”

Although prostitution is illegal, the North African country is considered a sex tourist destination in some parts of the Arab world.

"Prostitution is all around us and instead of refusing to see it, we should try to understand how women have arrived in that difficult situation", Ayouch told the French publication Figaro.

Ayouch is a French-Moroccan television and film director who is best known for his 2012 film “Horses of God,” which was awarded the Francois Chalais Prize.

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