The Damned Don't Cry

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An impoverished woman and her teenage son struggle for survival and footing in Moroccan society. This is an ambitious and thematically ambitious drama with an empathetic portrayal of the troubled mother-son relationship at its center.

Fatima-Zahra’s dreams of a glamorous life have fallen victim to a brutal reality and she has turned to sex work to provide for herself and her teenage son Selim. Selim becomes furious when he discovers that his mother has lied about his origin, but carries secrets of his own after meeting the wealthy Frenchman Sébastien.

The Damned Don't Cry is an intimate and unsentimental story of two people struggling to find their place in the world. Director Fyzal Boulifa uses this foundation to explore an impressive array of themes. The relationship between Selim and Sébastien is an excellent example of this, with the latter simultaneously inhabiting the roles of employer, lover, sexual client, and father figure. This is a thought-provoking film in the truest sense of the word, but Boulifa never lets the themes overshadow his tender and tragic portrayal of his main characters, which seems clearly inspired by the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.


Fyzal Boulifa (b. 1985) is a British-Moroccan filmmaker from Leicester, England. His feature debut was the working-class drama Lynn + Lucy from 2019. He has also directed several short films, and twice received the Illy Award for best short in Cannes, for The Curse in 2012 and Rate Me in 2015.


2019 Lynn + Lucy
2015 Rate Me (short)
2012 The Curse (short)
2010 Burn My Body (short)
2009 Coming Back (short)

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