The Unknown Saint


Director: Alaa Eddine Aljem

Country: Morocco

Year: 2019

Duration: 1hr 40min

Language: Arabic with English subtitles

A hapless thief on the run from the cops stashes his loot on top of a hill in the desert, disguising the spot as a grave—a ploy which will both discourage interference and make the spot easy to find later on. After a lengthy spell in prison, he returns to the hill, nonplussed to discover that it is now home to a shrine dedicated to an “unknown saint” whose grave appeared out of nowhere—and who has become known for healing miracles. Determined to retrieve his ill-gotten goods, the thief and his former partner-in-crime team up, but between the guard (and guard dog) and a steady stream of pilgrims, the obstacles are formidable. The shrine is a gold mine in more ways than one. In fact, an entire village has sprung up nearby to profit from the faithful, including a barber who does double-duty as a dentist and a recently arrived doctor. The doctor receives pilgrims of his own in the form of elderly ladies who fake ailments in order to pay him visits. No healing miracles here; rather, his grumpy nurse dispenses an identical packet of pills to every patient, regardless of their complaint. And so life goes on in this absurdist fable about faith and greed and luck, and all the different ways we make sense of and make the best of our lives


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