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Jocelyn Saab and Hanan Turk confront social issues with controversial film Dunia

Thu Dec 15,2005

Dubai, December 15, 2005: Dunia (Kiss me not on the eyes) seeks to address and confront social issues in the Arab world. As a clear indication of the controversy surrounding the film, heated debate broke out during a press conference held at the 2nd Dubai International Film Festival to discuss the movie. Written in French and translated into Arabic, shot in Egypt by a Lebanese Director, Dunia (Kiss me not on the eyes) proves the borderless nature of the medium of film. It tackles universal social issues like female circumcision and the quest of a woman to find her physical and spiritual sides through dance and music. Unapologetic and resolute, Jocelyn Saab and Hanan Turk took the fight to their detractors while discussing Dunia (Kiss me not on the eyes).

“We have to dare to do what the film is doing now. If we hide and switch ourselves off because we do not want to be slapped, we will not be able to express who we are and what our heritage is. Westerners look at us in a disgusting way, we need to fix this,” said Jocelyn Saab. Hanan Turk, the acclaimed Egyptian actress was offered the role after a few other actresses had turned it down citing the disturbing content of the script. Hanan immediately understood Jocelyn’s views. There was an instant chemistry between them.

“I was not afraid of the controversial nature of the script. In fact, I felt that it talked about freedom, poetry and dance - topics that I can identify with completely.” “The success of the film is indicated by the different opinions and reactions that it brings out from people all over the world. It has received excellent reviews in all the film festivals that it has been exhibited in. It was very popular in Montreal, Valencia and New York and in India it was so much in demand that distributor arrangements were made quickly. I am looking for a distributor in the UAE and very soon it could be shown here. We are impressed by the cinema culture of the UAE and feel that the Dubai festival has done a lot to bring diverse Arab cinema to its audiences,” said Jocelyn.

Dunia (Kiss me not on the eyes) took five years to write but was made within 7 weeks of shooting on a budget of US$2 million.

-Ends-

Note to Editors: The second Dubai International Film Festival 2005 (DIFF) opened at 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 11 and will continue until Saturday, December 17, 2005. 98 participating films are now showing at the Festival venues of the Madinat Arena, the Madinat Theatre in Souk Madinat Jumeirah and CineStar Cinemas at the Mall of the Emirates. A series of interactive panel discussions between the public, filmmakers and industry specialists will be held at the Knowledge Village auditorium. Tickets, and an entire schedule of the Festival films and events, are available through the Dubai Film Festival website www.dubaifilmfest.com, or via the DIFF Call Centre on 04-367-6701.

The Festival is presented by Dubai Media City and its Founding Sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Properties, Emirates, Etisalat and the Madinat Jumeirah – the Arabian Resort. The Festival’s Gold Sponsors are Bin Hendi Enterprises, National Bank of Dubai, Showtime, The Kanoo Group and The Palm Jumeirah; the Silver Sponsors are Filmworks, Motivate Publishing and Sony.

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