Trances 1981
Written, shot, and directed by Ahmed El Maanoui, Trances is a documentary film about the Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane who creates music that express the social and political world of Morocco. The film follows a band trying to make music for a country that isn’t known for making modern music as they try to make a dent into the world outside of Morocco. The result is a fascinating and exhilarating film from Ahmed El Maanoui.

The band Nass El Ghiwane that consists of percussionist Labri Batma, percussionist Omar Sayed, banjoist Allal Yaala, and bassist Abderrahman Paco had become a popular sensation in their native country of Morocco as they sing folk-inspired songs about the country around them. It’s a film that isn’t just about this band but also the world of Morocco and its culture as well as some of the political and social turmoil in the country. At the same time, there is an element of history about Morocco’s music culture as well as the songs the band perform as it relates to a few folk heroes and things around them. Still, some of the band members have day-to-day jobs they do to get by but also play shows not really for money but to entertain the people.

Trances initially appeared on Blu-ray as part of Criterion's Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project, No. 1 box set. This single-disc release offers a presentation of the exact same restoration of the film.

Director: Ahmed El Maanouni
Cast: Larbi Batma, Nass-El Ghiwane, Abderrahman Paco, Omar Sayed, Allal Yaala
Country: Morocco, France
Genre: Documentary, Music

BD50, DVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:29:20 | 30.6 Gb + 6.99 Gb
Language: Arabic
Subtitles: English


Introduction - Martin Scorsese introduces Ahmed El Maanouni's Trances and discusses the music of Nass El Ghiwane. The introduction was recorded for Criterion in 2013. In English, not subtitled. (2 min, 1080p).

On Trances - Trances was the first film to be restored by the World Cinema Foundation. In this video program, director Martin Scorsese discusses his admiration for the film. Also included are excerpts from interviews with director Ahmed El Maanouni, musician Omar Sayed, and producer Izza Genini. The program was produced exclusively for Criterion in 2013. In English and French, with optional English subtitles where necessary. (19 min, 1080i).