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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Hashish
Hashish
Pathfinder Home Entertainment // Unrated // July 27, 2004
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Matt Langdon | posted August 27, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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Hashish is a cinema verite documentary about hashish farmers in Northern Morocco.

There is not much to the film, which is a German production directed by Daniel Grabner, other than the world of Moroccan farmers as they go about their daily routine. The rural farms don't have much life on them. The families all work together to make ends meet by harvesting hashish.

The process is pretty straight forward. They pick the hashish plants, then set them out to dry for a while. Then they strip the plants, thresh the remains through a sieve. The first pressing yields the highest quality hash, the second yields a second grade level hash and the third is not too good. Then they package it up tight and sell it to dealers who ship it off on cargo ships to Europe.

All the farmers live in rural locations where not much goes on during the day or at night. The work is hard, the money is little but it keeps the farmers busy and with enough to survive.

The filmmakers interview some of the farmers all of whom are candid and friendly - if not occasionally high on their own stash. There are also a good interview with a young man who talks about every African young man's desire to escape to Europe. He tells a few tales about illegal immigration to Europe.

Growing hashish is illegal but the local authorities turn a blind eye so long as nothing gets out of control. The catch is that farmers must run a big business and harvest all year long. It is the small farmers who are at risk.

The documentary is not too exciting and it so thoroughly captures the milieu that it becomes a bit boring after a while. It is also a bit long at 80 minutes. I suspect a good 30 minutes would tell us everything we need to know. The ethnographic feel is good and the film's message is pretty clear; these farmers work as hard as anyone to survive and the fact that they sell a highly illegal drug is of little concern.

Video:
The film is shot in high definition video and it looks sharp and clean.

Audio:
Audio is in mono and sounds fine.

Extras:
There are four deleted scenes. Two are of chickens eating hash (no kidding) and showing the signs of being high. The other are two deleted scenes of musicians in the region.

Final Thoughts:
Hashish is a decent documentary even if it is a bit flat at times. The filmmakers don't take a moral stance or even a titilating one and that is refreshing. The filmmakers seem to tell us that this is the way life in in the rural mountains of Morrocco.

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