Life & Culture

Watch a Film About Life for Dutch-Moroccans in Amsterdam

Directed by Sharif Abdel Mawla, 7 Moroccans and Jos is a satirical short film about life in West Amsterdam

Dutch-Moroccans represent a significant proportion of the Netherlands’ population – as of 2011, 16% of male youths under 25 years of age in Amsterdam is Dutch-Moroccan. But, much like BAME groups in the UK, and in the US, they face a lot of challenges – fear, ignorance and more.

But it’s this that inspired Sharif Abdel Mawla, who was born in Amsterdam and is of Egyptian descent, to create 7 Moroccans and Jos – a short satirical film, premiered here, about life for Dutch-Moroccan men living in the capital.

“During the Dutch political elections there was a certain unspoken tension among Dutch people,” Sharif explains. “Populism and ethnicity were hot topics. Fear of the unknown has increased. I guess I decided that I wanted to channel it by using the elements of fear to tell a different story.”

This film, which is described by Sharif as a “satirical homage to West Amsterdam”, gives us a glimpse into the lives of seven young men of Moroccan descent, and Jos – a middle-aged Dutch man trapped by fear of the unknown – who represents “subliminal ignorance, fear and regression” in the country.

Played by real people who Sharif knows or scouted on the estate the film was shot on, 7 Moroccans and Jos aims to be a satirical but authentic portrayal of these men’s experiences. This was crucial to the filmmaker who wanted to ensure that the film was credible.

“Dutch-Moroccans can be compared with British-Pakistanis or Mexican-Americans,” he says. “They’re an easy target. I wanted to show that these individuals also have a story going on, beyond their appearance.”

Watch 7 Moroccans and Jos below: