Mimosas Screen 19 articles



Mimosas Poster
  • As the group loses its bearings — there is a bit of Gus Van Sant’s “Gerry” here, and perhaps of Beckett as well — Shakib grows increasingly overt in his appeals to faith, which he feels will guide the way to Sijilmasa. It’s at this point that “Mimosas” begins to grow repetitive and perhaps more obscure, to the point that the most agnostic and literal-minded of viewers may have trouble going with the poetic flow.

  • At best ambiguous and at worst unfathomable... Flying high and wide, [cinematographer Mauro Herce] forges belief and fear into a bond with a landscape that doesn’t care whose wishes prevail. The naturalistic sound design agrees, sifting scrabbling stones and rushing water into the thrumming silence of snow and sand. The sum is a movie that panders not at all to Western sensibilities, giving few pointers on a theme beyond the fortifying power of faith.

  • This unusual clarity and the anecdotal, unpretentious nature of the story's bare, quiet movements, admittedly had me struggling for the source of the film's inner purpose, as I found myself a bit stranded in the abstraction of an empty landscape with few signposts. Quite possibly, Mimosas may be subtly playing off of cultural or literary traditions and sources lost on me, not being familiar with the Sufi religion or the tales of the region.

  • Laxe's understanding of the country’s language, culture and, above all, its sun-blasted landscape shines brightly in every frame. Nevertheless, it’s also an endurance test... Imagine a near unrelenting series of variations on the opening – admittedly spectacular - scene from Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972), or even those bits in Fitzcarraldo (1982) where they carry the river boat over a mountain, but with no Klaus Kinski bringing the comic-relief crazy.

  • The weight of cultural myth hangs over Mimosas without mercy, especially as the possibility of any clear-cut narrative meaning slowly leaks from the film's beautifully composed frames. Yet there are concrete clues in the form of intertextual play with film history.

  • Perhaps Mimosas is nothing more than a high-minded (but very affectionate) paean to naïveté, an incomplete adventure that eschews both sophistication and interpretation. But in the rocky foothills, glistening mountain ponds, and dusky desert vistas—and in those marriages of natural landscapes and natural light, scraggly terrain and 16mm grain, quest and Herzog-ian cinematic undertaking—it finds something close to the shared terms of myth.

  • This is partly a consummate figures-in-a-landscape study, with characters – and their accompanying mules - often merging into the vastness of a varied, but usually profoundly, inhospitable landscape. But the cast makes striking use of non-professionals, and Laxe has an unerring eye for faces that tell a story – including that of Ahmed El Othemani who plays Mohammed, an old man who helps the travellers on their journey.

  • Laxe seems distinctly taken with the idea of cinema as an apparatus for cultural appraisal and analysis. And in that way it feels like the perfect bookend to The Sky Trembles, though crucially it manages to stand on its own as a cogent work of investigative, reflexive integrity.

  • A Sufi western? In the parole of Cannes’ critical taxonomy, the designation bestowed upon Oliver Laxe’s desert-fevered, Semaine de la Critique-winning allegory would seem reductive if it didn’t allude, paradoxically, to the film’s radically expansive nature.

  • A Western with shades of the uncanny, Mimosas has the openness of a parable: it doesn’t dramatize so much as embody the mysteries of faith.

  • Olivier Laxe’s Mimosas, a lyrical celluloid journey through the remote valleys of southern Morocco, with minimal narrative but mesmerising cinematography, portents the arrival of a new cinematic voice working in the vein of a Lisandro Alonso or a Ben Rivers (a kinship evinced by the fact that the latter filmed the shoot of Mimosas for his film The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes are not Brothers).

  • Although Mimosas is not without its stock characters and recognizable functions—it’s essentially a Western, very much in the John Ford / Howard Hawks mode—we get to know these highly idiosyncratic outcasts by watching them struggle against a limpid but unforgiving landscape. Laxe produces genuine moral dilemmas, not “typical situations.” By attending to the most basic problem of visual art—figures in a landscape—Laxe pinpoints the quotidian extraordinary.

  • Featuring terrific performances by its mostly non-professional cast, stunning landscapes, and hypnotic 16mm photography, Mimosas is tactile and sensual. Sure, there are some inexplicable leaps in time. But when those ruptures deliver exhilarating moments of cinema, like the image of taxis racing across the desert at sundown to an ominous score, who really cares if it all adds up?

  • It doesn't take a whole lot of work to make the deserts and Atlas Mountains of Morocco look breathtaking (being shot on 16mm admittedly helps). But Mimosas is far more than its jaw-dropping exterior, and Oliver Laxe is the tremendous force at its helm.

  • It’s a neo-western about faith, inspired by Sufi mysticism, Roberto Rossellini’s The Flowers of St. Francis and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev. It’s an elliptical and adventurous odyssey with some very arresting 16mm cinematography.

  • The most obvious—and the most remarked upon, if least interrogated, in many similar movies—is the cinematography, which one might call “gorgeous,” “striking,” “beautiful,” or any similar adjective. Mimosas is indeed all of these things, capturing palatial mountain structures with careful precision with regard to both framing and lighting, as well as watching taxis coast through the open desert at sunset from a few distinct, equally awe-inspiring shots.

  • What ensues, apart from hazardous terrain challenges and murderous, roving bandits, bears not a little resemblance to Gus Van Sant’s 2003 landscape poem Gerry, right down to that film’s atmosphere of despair, indistinguishable from its lyrical abstraction.

  • The chief pleasure of Laxe's film is how it makes use of monumental locations in Morocco, setting the story against the grand splendors of mountains and wide-open deserts. The story of Mimosas is relatively simple, but the landscapes give it an epic sweep; they also make the story seem to exist outside of time, the eternal majesty of the setting overwhelming any momentary concerns.

  • This is a literal slow burn, a deliberately paced sojourn through desert heat. If for no other reason, though, Mimosas is worth seeing for its images of indescribable beauty. There are the perilous inner workings of the mountains, the dust kicked up by a caravan of cars setting out at dawn—images that convince you this is a far more mystifying film than it initially seems.

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