DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTS BEST OF ARAB CINEMA AT ARSENAL
Mon Jun 09,2014
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), in partnership with the Berlin-based Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, will offer audiences a selection of the most celebrated cinematic productions from DIFF’s “Cinema of Passion” book of the 100 greatest Arab films. The films can be viewed over a six-day screening series starting Friday, June 13 until Wednesday, June 18, at Arsenal in Berlin.
DIFF worked with nearly 500 prominent regional and international film critics, writers, novelists, academics and other arts professionals to curate “Cinema of Passion”, the first project of its kind in the Arab world. Released during the Festival’s landmark tenth edition last year, the book plays an important role in preserving and analysing the region’s film treasures.
The selected films come from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia and Palestine and include the early works of directors Youssef Chahine and Mohammad Malas, as well as a milestone in film history and topping the list, Chadi Abdel Salam’s “The Mummy” (1969).
DIFF’s Artistic Director, Masoud Amralla Al Ali said: “We are very excited and proud to showcase a selection of some of the most prominent cinematic works from the Arab world featured in the ‘Cinema of Passion’ book of renowned regional cinema at the Arsenal to a Berlin-based audience. We are looking forward to sharing the region’s rich cinematic traditions and shining a spotlight on the past and present of Arab cinema. The films come from a diverse selection of genres and we truly hope that filmgoers find the experience enriching and educational.”
The films include:
“WEST BEYROUTH” (“West Beirut”)
Friday, June 13, at 8:00 p.m.
Director Ziad Doueiri’s film is based on the 1975 civil war in Lebanon that divided the city of Beirut into Muslim and Christian sectors, and led to over a decade of civil war. It is largely Doueiri’s autobiographical chronicle growing up during this period, and underscores the terrors children suffer during wartime.
“BAB EL HADID” (“Cairo Station”)
Saturday, June 14, at 7:00 p.m.
Directed by Youssef Chahine, the film tells the story of the ordinary people of Egypt and the only location - Cairo Station – that becomes a microcosm of social relations in Egypt. The film is one of the most important works in Egyptian film history today is credited as the first pinnacle of Chahine’s oeuvre.
“AL-MUMMIA” (“The Mummy”)
Saturday, June 14, at 9:00 p.m.
Directed by Chadi Abdel Salam, the film is based on a true story of a family clan that makes a living from breaking into the tombs of pharaohs and selling the treasures on the black market. The film is considered a landmark in Egyptian film history.
“AHLAM EL MADINA” (“Dreams of the City”)
Sunday, June 15, at 8:00 p.m.
Mohammad Malas’ debut film is set against the backdrop of the 1950s political upheavals in Syria and tells his story of losing his childish illusions in the face of violence and brutality. Partly autobiographical, the films marked Malas’ transition to auteur cinema in Syria.
“SAMT EL QUSUR” (“The Silences of the Palace”)
Monday, June 16, at 8:15 p.m.
Directed by Moufida Tlatli, the film tells a story of emancipation in post-colonial Tunisia, as a young woman comes to grips with the realities of her mother’s life as a servant in a prince’s palace.
“YADON ILAHEYYA” (“Divine Intervention”)
Tuesday, June 17, at 7:00 p.m.
Elia Suleiman’s film directs its gaze on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and depicts everyday life in the context of sheer madness, portrayed through surreal ideas and wild fantasies
“AL-ARD” (“The Land”)
Tuesday, June 17, at 9:00 p.m.
Directed by Youssef Chahine, this film is a 1969 Egyptian drama, based on a popular novel by Abdel Rahman al-Sharqawi. The film narrates the conflict between peasants and their landlord in rural Egypt in the 1930s, and explores the complex relation between individual interests and collective responses to oppression.
Wednesday, June 18, at 8:00 p.m.
Directed by Daoud Abdel Sayed, the film is a popular socio-critical comedy that looks at everyday problems with a lot of humor in a poor district of Cairo, told through the life of a very jolly blind musician.
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