Director: Oliver Laxe
Year of release: 2017
Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes
Across a mountainous Moroccan landscape, nomads are transporting the deceased body of a sheikh to his apparent resting place. These travelers, both weary from the journey and apprehensive about traversing the dangerous terrain in order to reach the eventual city, are framed by director Oliver Laxe and cinematographer Mauro Herce like tiny insects dwarfed by the enormity of their setting. By extension, Mimosas is a film in which the seemingly simple narrative is dwarfed by slipstream story threads that come and go at random; creating a hypnotic experience which actively resists classification.
The basic plot involves Ahmed (Ahmed Hammoud) and Saïd (Saïd Aagli), two nomads tasked with carrying the sheikh's remains, who are later joined by Shakib (Shakib Ben Omar), a strange wanderer who first appears in disconnected scenes at an automobile junkyard where he rants to onlookers about God, creation, and the Devil's propensity for meddling in the affair's of men. As the three characters become intertwined, Laxe subverts expectations by turning Mimosas into an episodic pilgrimage where the ultimate destination remains unclear and more importantly, arbitrary. As days stretch on, time becomes elusive; with the film taking on the feeling of a languidly-paced dream where each member fights inner and outer demons, wrestling with cultural myths as well as issues of faith and devotion. Throughout, Laxe allows the bewilderingly gorgeous landscapes to take center stage while the humans remain in the foreground; rendered insignificant by the perilous beauty and callous indifference of nature.
Mimosas may indeed be about something--male ego, delusion, the vanity of primarily spiritual pursuits--but the way it's disparate pieces are sewn together like a half-finished tapestry will likely confound most. Mileage will vary on whether or not such cryptic narrative swerves are worth praising or dismissing, but there's little question that the film casts an otherworldly, haunting spell. In a way, Mimosas feels purposefully impassable, not unlike the treacherous path Shakib keeps insisting they can find a way through, if only their mules could fly.