For the sixth year in a row, we host Norway’s only film festival that exclusively shows the best films from and about the Arab world. This year’s program is the best in the festival’s history yet. The 22 films embrace a wide range of themes, and it can be challenging to maneuver all of these. Therefore, we have arranged them into four loose categories to help you pick out the films you will want to see.
View the full program and purchase tickets HERE
Read about our official festival opening HERE
Festival winners of quality and range
Political and social actuality is a large part of this year’s program, but another hallmark is the artistic quality. The program consists of several international festival winners. An example is The Idol, which is directed by two-time Oscar-nominated director Hany Abu Assad. The opening film, As I Open My Eyes, (purchase tickets here) has become an international festival hit after taking home a number of awards in Venice. Hedi won the Silver Bear Award for both Best Debut and Best Actor, and can also be found on the festival program.
From Aleppo to Asker
Today, one cannot arrange an Arab film festival without paying attention to the horrific refugee disaster we are witnessing. What used to be reality in Aleppo is now just as relevant in Asker, Alvdal or anywhere in Norway. The development in the Arab region has gone from being foreign news to becoming headline news. The war on IS, terror attacks taking place in European cities, and also the high number of refugees that are now arriving in Norway, show how political and social development in the Arab world affects Europe.
New perspectives on well-known topics
When what goes on in the Arab region becomes a part of the everyday life in Norway, it is necessary to understand what is really happening. Many of the festival’s films have developments unfolding in the past year as themes, and give the audience an insight from a new perspective. The documentary This is Exile describes the experience of fleeing through children’s eyes. Another theme that has been reoccurring in the media is presented through director Pål Refsdal’s Dugma – The Button. The documentary is an intimate portrait of a group of men inside Al-Qaida, and show how suicide bombers from the Nusra-front reflect. Due to the festivals collaboration with the French embassy, Arab-French films are presented. They take on themes such as integration and the encounter between immigrants from the Arab world and Europe.
Gender culture in the Middle East
Numerous film creators have the past year made films that critically examines gender roles, marriage, and patriarchy in the Arab world. The 2016 festival program thus focuses on films that take on gender culture. Madame Courage is a nuanced frontal attack on men’s role in Algeria, while Halal Love (and Sex) is a comedy about some Lebanese citizens attempting to establish romantic relationships, while at the same time staying within the lines on Islamic law. The documentary Oriented describes life as a Palestinian homosexual in Israel. The fiction Sand Storm is a feminist drama about the right to choose ones own destiny.
From thriller to feel-good
In addition to high artistic quality on this year’s films, the program also shows great range as far as genre goes. Films like Rattle The Cage, a neo-noir thriller is on the program as well as classic Egyptian melodrama with social awareness in Nawara. This is mixed with laughable comedy in Halal Love and an epic desert drama in the classic The Message. Last year’s great success with the silent film concert, Views of the Ottoman Empire, is presented again this year and takes place at Cinemateket the day before the festival’s official opening.
For more information on tickets, click HERE
Sign up for the event on Facebook to stay updated on Q&A's, debates, changes in the program and more HERE
If you want to read about the guests who will attend the festival, click HERE
We will announce exciting festival news on our site, so make sure to check back in to see more.