In the last decade, Franco-Moroccan directors have begun to explore culturally taboo and unrepresented sexual communities within Morocco. This article examines how two pioneering films, Abdellah Taïa's Salvation Army and Nabil Ayouch's Much Loved, contribute to an emerging cultural politics in the Arab-speaking world that is reframing marginalized or invisible sexualities. While these films address issues of sexual tourism, incest, and prostitution, among others, the focus of this article is on the films’ critiques of internalized homophobia, sexual tourism, and the sociopolitical power structures that occlude, marginalize, or shame those males outside of the heterosexual matrix. Analyzing the films’ portrayal of the semiotics of forbidden desire, internalized homophobia, and the circulation and spatialization of queer sexualities in Morocco, this article argues that Salvation Army and Much Loved complicate our understanding of Arab masculinities and add to a growing queer visibility that stretches from the Maghreb to the Gulf.
Lowry Martin is an Associate Professor of French at the University of Texas at El Paso. He received his Phd from the University of California–Berkeley in French with a Designated Emphasis in Women's Studies, Gender, and Sexuality. His primary fields of study are French literature during France's Third Republic, Francophone cinema, and the intersections of law, literature, and sexuality. He has written on Dumas, Colette, and Proust as well as Francophone and Israeli cinema.His book, Sapphic Mosaics: Fantasy, Desire, and the Cultural Production of Paris-Lesbos 1880–1939 is currently under review, and he is working on a second monograph entitled Imagining the Promised Land: Transnational Imaginaries and French Cultural Production.
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