It is a rare occurrence when a two times Oscar nominated director visits Arabian Film Days – or Norway for that matter. Hany Abu-Assad, known for his complex characters and depictions of life under occupation, is this year’s special guest at Arabian Film Days. Meet the director of Omar in this exclusive interview.
Three days packed with quality films from the Arabic world are right around the corner. The programme might seem overwhelming, but there is no need to freak out. In this festival guide you will find all the information you need to enjoy a spectacular film weekend.
Peace After Marriage is a rare mixture of a romantic comedy and a “40 year old virgin”-type masturbation movie about the Israel-Palestine conflict. And let us put the record straight, this film is as politically incorrect as it gets. If that is a delicate matter to you, then this might not be the right film for you. But if you feel that there is a need for some humour in the Middle East debate, then you are in for a real treat.
Palestinian Hany Abu-Assad, the director best known for his depiction of suicide bombers in Paradise Now, was this year, once again, Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. This time it was the new drama thriller Omar that gave him the nomination. In April, you can meet Abu-Assad in Oslo as our special guest at Arabian Film Days.
Along with the revolution in Egypt, a new music genre arose in the streets. The documentary Electro Chaabi is a journey into Arabic rhythms, rap and political lyrics in modern Cairo. Electro chaabi is about stagediving in the slum’s alleys and playing keyboards on the rooftops of the Egyptian capital.
Family, drama, culture crash and sister love are some of the keywords that describe Rock the Casbah. Not only are we introduced to a bunch of rich people in Morocco, but we also get to see how three sisters with the same background develop into completely different types of people. However, in the end they might not be so different after all. Don’t miss Rock the Casbah – a family comedy filled with well known actors, including the one and only Omar Sharif as one of the main characters.
Along with the revolution in Egypt came a great interest in, and media coverage of, the different happenings in the country. Arabian Film Days wishes to give a broader and more complementary picture of Egypt. The hip hop-film Electro Chaabi gives you the soundtrack of the revolution, Cairo Drive shows you the madness in the capital city’s traffic, Oscar-nominated The Square gives you an intimate insight into the events at Tahrir Square, while Rags and Tatters is a poetic film about the people in the backdrop of the revolution.
Rarely has a film about detachment and freedom in Iraqi-Kurdish everyday life been conveyed through comedy. But this one is! Don’t miss out on the charming, dark comedy My Sweet Pepper Land at Arabian Film Days.
This year’s Arabian Film Days gives you a special section on Palestine. Through the four films that we are screening, we give you an untraditional account of the conflict and everyday life in the occupied territories. From the drama thriller Omar, by way of a Palestinian village and an Israeli settlement in the documentary Thank God It’s Friday, to Zaytoun, an Israeli produced road movie from a Palestinian refugee camp during the Lebanese civil war. And finally, New York based Ghazi Albuliwi’s silly romantic comedy Peace After Marriage.
Arabian Film Days 2014 will be held 4th – 6th April at Cinema Victoria, and the programme has now been published. We take the pulse of the Arab world, and at the same time we show you aspects of everyday life in the Middle East and North Africa that are not shown on CNN or Al-Jazeera. Our programme ranges from an Academy Award nominated thriller to comedies, a music documentary, depictions of revolution and political documentaries. The programme is now available in English on our website.
There is no doubt about it: This year's Arabian Film Days was an unparalleled success. 2202 tickets sold, one very happy audience, outstanding movies and a brilliant party were all ingredients that made this year's perhaps the best edition of the festival so far.
The discovery of an extraordinary old movie film roll sheds new light on the Egyptian monarchy. Mahmoud Sabit, a relative of the royal family, is a fascinating storyteller whom we are extremely happy to have as our guest in this year's festival.
Arabian Filmdays presents one classic from the Middle East in its program every year. This year's classic is by many considered to be the best Arab movie of all time: Silence of the Palace. The director, Moufida Tlati, is one of the big pioneers in Arab cinema.