Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets is a 2000 Moroccan crime drama film that tells the story of several homeless boys living in Casablanca. It was awarded in the 2000 Stockholm Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival and in the 2000 Amiens International Film Festival.

Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Street
Directed byNabil Ayouch
Written byNabil Ayouch
Nathalie Saugeon
Produced byÉtienne Comar
Jean Cottin
Antoine Voituriez
StarringMaunim Kbab
Abdelhak Zhayra
Hicham Moussaune
Amal Ayouch
Mustapha Hansali
Saïd Taghmaoui
CinematographyRenaat Lambeets
Vincent Mathias
Edited byJean-Robert Thomann
Music byKrishna Levy
Distributed byArab Film Distribution (United States)
Release date
  • September 8, 2000 (2000-09-08)
Running time
90 minutes



Against a background of dockside poverty in Casablanca, populated by a loose gang of over 20 homeless and uneducated male youths under 15, Kwita (Maunim Kbab), Omar (Mustapha Hansali), Boubker (Hicham Moussaune) and Ali Zaoua (Abdelhak Zhayra) leave the group becoming 4 independents.[1] Ali, with plans of becoming a cabin boy on a ship, leads this exodus from the gang — led by Dib (Saïd Taghmaoui). Early in the film and almost accidentally, Ali is killed by members of the gang. His 3 outsider friends decide to give him a proper funeral. Kwita is treated badly by military, by police and by well-off children because he is "not devout", cannot pray, is unclean, smells like dead meat and is a glue sniffer, and Omar attempts to return to Dib's gang. Boubker, the smallest and most irrepressibly buoyant of the boys, temporarily despairs, but recovers. Against all odds, the three boys manage to arrange Ali's funeral to pay respect to their friend in the main story of the film. [2]



Importance and role of rituals depicted


Ali Zaoua is a Moroccan film which reflects the pain of poverty, homelessness, child abuse and prostitution in Moroccan society. The film has been described as magical realism, in the sense of how the stark reality of the children’s lives interweaves with their rich fantasy life.[3] The contrast between real life and fantasy life shows the strong part of their beliefs. In their feeling and practice they are very different from each other. In this film Ali, Kwita, Omar and Boubker are street kids. The daily dose of glue sniffing represents their only escape from reality. Ali wants to become a sailor - when he was living with his mother, a prostitute, he used to listen to a fairy tale about the sailor who discovered the miracle island with two suns. Instead of finding his island in the dream, Ali and his friends are confronted with Dib’s gang. Matters are getting serious; the four kids separated themselves from Dib’s gang. As a result, Ali Zaoua is killed by Dib’s gang when he is hit by a stone. Omar and Baker wanted to bury him as king but circumstances do not support them.[4]




  1. ^ Ali Zaoua (2002), BBC-UK, Jamie Russell, 15 March 2002
  2. ^ Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets (2000), Dvdinfatuation, 15 July 2011
  3. ^ Les enfants des rues de Nabil Ayouch, Olivia Marsaud - 10 février 2001 (in French)
  4. ^ Chalk Dreams: The Use of Fantasy as a Method of Rethinking Life in Ali Zaoua, Inquiries Journal/Student Pulse, Tiffany M. Johnson, 2012, Vol. 4 No. 07, pg. 1/2