‘Arab spring’ packaged
“Arab Cinema “a package that consists of eight films which focuses on the present popular rebellions for democracy in the Arab world, will be one of the highlights of IFFK 2011. The Arab Films are both the product and the expression of a long and unresolved struggle for the control of the image, for the power to define identity. This is deeply rooted in the crossroads of culture of the region, extending as it does between Europe and Black Africa, between the Atlantic and the Arabian Gulf and also between the countryside and desert…between a colonial past and a nominally independent present.
Egyptian film is the major attraction in the Arab Cinema package. Widely acclaimed Egyptian Documentary ‘Tahrir 2011:The Good, the Bad and the Politician’, a joint venture by three directors Tamer Ezzat, Ayten Amin, and Amr Salama is among the films included in this segment.The film is divided into three parts depicting the surge and suppression of popular revolt under the government of former president and Military commander Hosni Mubarak. The Good, directed by Tamer Ezzat, gives voice to the everyday heroes from Tahrir square. The Bad, directed by Ayten Amin, films a rare account given by four internal security officers assigned to crush the rebellion. Their testimonials give chilling insight into the mindset and strategy of Mubarak’s security apparatus which brutally silenced dissent. The Politician, directed by Amr Salama, offers a satirical take on “how to become a dictator in ten steps,” and a smart deconstruction of Mubarak’s persona over his thirty-year rule. The screening of this Documentary will be followed by a conversation with two of the Cairo based film makers.
Egyptian director Amr Salama’s ‘Asma’a’, is a well –intentioned yet infuriatingly conventional drama about an HIV- positive patient fighting the prejudices of her community. ‘Asma’a’ is based on a true story is a message-driven film with a sincere, important objective.
Syrian Filmmaker Mohamad Abdul-Aziz’s ‘Damascus, with love’ is a film about love, people, memory and place. Rima, a Syrian-Jewish girl, was about to emigrate from Damascus and was stopped by an old secret which was revealed by her father at the airport. She cancels the trip and returns to explore her past which unveils the distinct face of the city, where numerous cultures live together in unusual harmony.
Award- winning Director Elyes Baccar’s ‘Rogue Parole’ is the story of the Tunisian popular revolution and the expulsion of president Ben Ali,emotionally told by its heroes through both their silence and their clamour. Elyes Baccar gives us an inside look at a popular revolt where ordinary people, journalists, children and artists joined hands and together found out, often at great cost, what the words “freedom” and “democracy” really meant. Beautifully photographed, ‘Rogue Parole’ is an uncompromising film that manages to find hope in the history-making events.
Lebanese film “Here Comes The Rain” by Bahij Hojeij depicts a typical Lebanese family confronted with the unexpected return of a physically and morally devastated man. Films about returning home after a long absence sometimes make us feel a bit uncomfortable, like an uninvited guest at the family table. But Here Comes the Rain avoids the cliché of tearful and pathetic reunions. Bahij Hojeij’s second feature depicts the return of Ramez to his loved ones, after he got kidnapped and spent time behind bars. The film asks the question, whether it is possible for a man who was kidnapped, tortured and forgotten for 20 years to return to normal life.
Moroccan filmmaker Mohamed Asli’s ‘Rough Hands’ (Ayadin Khachina) is a story happening in Casablanca. Mustafa, an illiterate barber with an underground business, conspires to help a neighbour Zakia to emigrate to Spain and reunite with her fiancé. Unable to realize her Spanish dream, she remains in her country and marries Mustafa.
Moroccan director Hicham Lasri’s feature, “The End” (Al Nihaya) is a bold visual delve into a nightmarish vision of Casablanca, shot in elegant black-and-white but trading too much on stylistic flourishes and heavy handed symbolism to make more than a limited impact.
“Where Do We Go Now?” -A Dramatic Comedy directed by Lebanese singer and actress Nadine Labaki which won Cadillac People’s Choice Award at TIFF tells the story of a remote, isolated unnamed Lebanese village inhabited by both Muslims and Christians.
Compiled by Meera Jasmine