Italy's Poetiche Cinematografiche has started shooting The Mogador Lovers, a love and war story which is being directed by the head of Morocco's national film body, Souheil Ben-Barka.

Set in the 1930s, the film tells the story of a young Frenchwoman, the daughter of a judge stationed in Morocco, who defies her parents' wishes and runs off with a rich Berber merchant who is waging a battle against the colonialists. The central events are based on the true story of Ben-Barka's parents.

The Italian-Moroccan film is being produced by Leo Pescarolo for Rome-based Poetiche Cinematografiche. Scripted by Ben-Barka, who is the leading figure in the Moroccan film industry, and Bernard Stora (A Major Incovenience, L'Effrontee), the film stars Violante Placido, Max Von Sydow and Bernard Fresson.

Morocco is understood to have put at the crew's disposal an army of 3000 soldiers and Royal Air force men for use as extras. Principal photography is taking place in Rabat, Essaouira and Timbuktu and is scheduled to wrap at the end of March after a ten-week shoot.