Documentary “Muhi – Generally Temporary”

"For the past seven years Muhi, a brave and spirited Palestinian boy has been living in an Israeli hospital, unable to return to his home in Gaza. Caught between two worlds and two peoples, Muhi is raised in paradoxical circumstances that transcend identity, religion and the conflict that divides his world. His time at the … Continue reading Documentary “Muhi – Generally Temporary”

SAFAR Film Festival

The fourth edition of SAFAR is taking place at the ICA and the Institut Francais, running from 13-18 September. The festival, curated by Joseph Fahim, included films from Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Palestine, the genres ranging from adaptations, "creative documentaries," shorts and features. The full program can be found here.  I attended the second … Continue reading SAFAR Film Festival

Mahragan Music

Listening to Cairokee's Keif (Fix) recently, I was reminded to look up another crowdfunded project from a couple of years ago -- this one on Mahragan music and dance.    The project was first put up on the site back in 2014, the idea being to make a documentary on the Mahragan movement, focusing on the … Continue reading Mahragan Music

Arab Films Entered for Oscars

There are films from 92 countries entered for the Foreign Film category of the Oscars. Among these are eight films from Arabic-speaking countries. Several of the films deal in various ways with the impact of the conflict in Syria. There is the documentary from Syria, “Little Gandhi,” which follows the life and death of Syrian … Continue reading Arab Films Entered for Oscars

“On Arab Geographies”: Film Screenings in Abu Dhabi, May 4-6

 ‘On Arab Geographies’  brings together screenings of eight critically-acclaimed contemporary Arab films from across the region, as well as Q&A sessions and panel discussions on filmmaking in the region. The program runs from May 4-6. See the full schedule here. It is curated by Rabih El Khoury, who described it as a "travelogue": “This program aims to be a travelogue … Continue reading “On Arab Geographies”: Film Screenings in Abu Dhabi, May 4-6

Egyptian Arts Festival D-Caf (March 31- April 22)

D-Caf (Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival)  returns for its fifth edition on March 31 running until April 22. "Egypt’s only international multi-disciplinary contemporary arts festival," D-CAF has everything from literature readings to concerts, to film and theatre, comedy stand up and a puppet show. Dina El Wedidi and Khansa Batma open the show with a concert at Horreya Garden. … Continue reading Egyptian Arts Festival D-Caf (March 31- April 22)

Luxor African Film Festival

The 5th edition of Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) is scheduled to run between 17-23 March.  The festival was established to remedy the lack of attention paid to African films in Egypt, with Luxor chosen to "de-centralize cultural or artistic events always organized in Cairo and Alexandria" This year LAFF is honoring Omar Sharif, who … Continue reading Luxor African Film Festival

The Oscars and the Berlinale

With the 88th Academy Awards ceremony to take place this Sunday, Al Bawaba looks back at nine films from the region to be nominated for an Oscar, including Hany Abu Assad's Paradise Now (2005) and Omar (2013), and Rachid Bouchareb's Days of Glory (2006) and Outside the Law (2010), but also Incendies (2010), adapted from … Continue reading The Oscars and the Berlinale

Revolutionary Voices, Stockholm, March 2-8

Re:Orient in Stockholm, which arranges cultural events focusing on the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans, is celebrating Music Freedom Day as well as International Women's Day  with their week long Revolutionary Voices program from March 2-8. The program includes documentary screenings, a couple of panels and a concert, featuring Rim Banna, Tania Saleh, Dina … Continue reading Revolutionary Voices, Stockholm, March 2-8

Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb After the BAFTA

Naji Abu Nowar's "Bedouin spaghetti western" Theeb (2014) is in the news again, only now it is the "BAFTA-winning, and Oscar nominated, Theeb." Theeb is  "one of only 10 films from the MENA region to have been nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film since 1947, and of the 112 films submitted for the … Continue reading Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb After the BAFTA

Mahmoud Sabbagh’s Barakah Meets Barakah

Mahmoud Sabbagh's Barakah Meets Barakah has been described as conventional in form, unconventional in setting. Surely one of the more conventional films ever to enjoy a premiere at the Berlinale's risk-embracing Forum parallel section, it's of considerable interest as a very rare cinematic export from a country where nearly all manifestations of cinema have been … Continue reading Mahmoud Sabbagh’s Barakah Meets Barakah

Mohamed Ben Attia’s Hedi and the Berlinale

Inhebbek Hedi, directed by Tunisian director Mohamed Ben Attia,  with Belgium's Dardenne brothers as co-producers, is "the first Arab contender in two decades" in the official competition of the Berlinale, running from 11-21 February. Hedi tells the story of "a simple young man" who "does not expect much from the life that is traced for … Continue reading Mohamed Ben Attia’s Hedi and the Berlinale

Sundance and “The Middle East”

Essa Chhabra writes of five films at Sundance that "Reveal What Life Is Like in the Middle East Now." Who comes up with these headlines? The films that take on "the formidable task of telling stories from the conflict and turmoil of the Middle East" include Brian Oakes' Jim: The James Foley Story, and Elite Zexer's Sandstorm, about Bedouin … Continue reading Sundance and “The Middle East”

MENAR Film Festival

The Middle East & North Africa Region (MENAR) Film Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, kicks off on January 14 and runs through the end of the month. The focus this year is on female directors - the films to be shown include Egyptian Nadine Khan's Chaos, Disorder (2012),  Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania's The Blade of Tunis … Continue reading MENAR Film Festival