Tea or Electricity (Le Thé ou l'Electricité)

A woman with seven children outside an adobe house in bright daylight with an old television in the foreground.

Jérôme le Maire
2012 | 93 minutes | Belgium, France, Morocco
New York Premiere

The implementation of electricity in a tiny isolated village in the middle of the Moroccan High Atlas is an occasion for anticipation, joy, and the unintended consequences of predatory capitalism. Shot season after season, this gorgeously filmed story slowly reveals how the people of Ifri join the grid of modern civilization. Before our eyes, a small village and a way of life are transformed by the comforts and complications of connecting to the rest of the world. The villagers yearn for modernization, and the electric company is eager to invest in new customers.  As we watch the inevitable effects that electrical tools—lights, cell phones, and televisions—have on their way of life, the film builds upon itself to eventually illuminating the transformation of social values by technological progress.

Co-presented by Human Rights Watch Film Festival