De Bastaard

The Moroccan-Flemish author and actor Rashif El Kaoui is struggling with his bicultural identity. His friend, Turkish-Dutch photographer Ahmet Polat, recognises his urgent need to free himself. He follows Rashif on his journey to find redemption.

Rashif (1988) is the result of a love affair between his Belgian mother and Moroccan father and was to lead to the break-up of that relationship one year later. As Rashif has it, his father had persuaded himself that he was ready to have children, but his behaviour suggested otherwise. His mother took baby Rashif in her arms and left the Kraaienbos neighbourhood of Beringen, Flanders. His father became a weekend dad who denied that he had a problem with alcohol. His presence was mainly notable by his absence, and Rashif ate more mashed potato than couscous as a child.

De Bastaard (Dutch working title) is a ‘road-movie’ style documentary by photographer Ahmet Polat.

In the documentary Ahmet Polat accompanies and films his friend Rashif El Kaoui on a journey to find his roots, to investigate his seriously disturbed relationship with his (now deceased) father and to understand his own identity. Who was the man who gave him his surname and his jet-black hair? What drove him, what made him the person he was? The impetus for the journey is the process that was set in motion when Rashif and Ahmet, both of whom have a bicultural background, worked together on the show De Man is Lam (The Man is Lame). Rashif has never been to Morocco before to search for his extended family, or to France to see where his father lived and died; he realises that, before he can start his next project about bicultural identity, he first has to understand who he really is.

They travel together by car from the flat grey motherland of Flanders to his Moroccan fatherland and to his father’s grave in the south of France – places Rashif has never been. On the journey, Rashif tries to get a grip on his confusion, rage and sadness by putting into words how he feels.

The documentary is part of a larger crossmedia project which also includes a theatre play in collaboration with Het Zuidelijk Toneel, Stichting Nieuwe Helden and Studio Polat.

The theatre play “De Bastaard” recently premiered in Tilburg and is currently touring in The Netherlands and Belgium. Click here for tickets & data.

Production details:
A coproduction with Dutch public broadcaster NTR (Het Uur van de Wolf).
The film will be Ahmet Polat’s debut feature.

Country: The Netherlands
Status: In production, expected in 2022
Running time: ’55 minutes

Television documentary