Starting with the first encounters between the filmmaker and the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, MAFROUZA shows the destinies of a few people, who change as the months go by and respond one another into a polyphonic chronicle that unfolds chronologically through 5 installments of which each is independent and can be viewed separately.
Life is hard in Mafrouza, but the inhabitants resist with grace and strength: Adel and Ghada, a young couple in search of happiness; Mohamed Khattab, a humanist grocer and sheikh; Hassan, a freedom-loving-thug-singer; Abu Hosny, an old loner with a flooded home; the peasant Om Bassiouni with her bread oven; the Chenabou rag-and-bone family; Gihad, a young wrestler girl,… They all embody and tell of this resistance of theirs, which makes their neighbourhood a astonishing space of freedom and vitality. Mafrouza takes the time to enter this world and to grasp its complexities. But the film also recounts the encounter between the people of Mafrouza and the woman who has come from Paris to film them. Including her as an off-screen character, the narration of the film breaks the wall between the people of Mafrouza and the camera, which also means between them and the viewer, which makes the film a unique cinematographic experience. And this experience of an encounter also challenges our way of looking at the other. If Mafrouza dispels many received ideas about the poor, the East or about islam, it also, mirroring this, questions our ways of looking and living (in the Western world, or elsewhere).