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5 Arab Films To Look Out For At The Venice Film Festival 2019

The 76th edition of the world's oldest film festival will soon be under way.


One of cinema world’s most prestigious and highly regarded film festivals kicked off in Italy yesterday. Running from 28th August to 7th September, the event has long been host to indie hits and Oscar winners alike. In fact, last year’s award-winning pictures Roma and A Star Is Born held its premier in the hallowed Palazzo del Cinema.

Similarly, 2019 will see the return of Venice veteran directors and new Netflix productions alongside Hollywood titles and movies starring the likes of famed actors scuh as Brad Pitt,Timothee Chalamet, Kristen Stewart and Penelope Cruz. Notably, the festival will also welcome its first female Arab jury member, Tunisian-Egyptian actress Hend Sabry, who will take her place on the Luigi De Laurentiis Award for the Debut Film panel. The MENA region is showcasing the cinematic creativity within its diverse cultures with an array of incisive and engaging submissions from Jordan to Sudan. Here are the 5 Arab films to look for at the festival.

Give Up The Ghost

Source: Arab Film and Media Institute

This short film by Jordanian director, screenwriter and actress Zain Duraie follows Salam, a young woman who wishes to have children but faces a difficult choice. Duraie explores the social pressure and stigma surrounding the concept of motherhood, posing the question: “What if we stand for what we believe in to become leaders and not followers to what society wants to make of us?”

The Perfect Candidate

Source: The National

Haifaa Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, is up for the prestigious Golden Lion Award with her highly anticipated feature film The Perfect Candidate. Al-Mansour, whose first film Wadjda premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012, is one of only two female directors (out of a category of 21) in the running. The film tells the story of a young female doctor looking to run for office.

You Will Die At 20

Source: Doha Film Institute

Sudanese UAE-born filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala’s debut feature film will premiere at the “Venice Days” event. The story revolves around Muzamil, who is predicted to die at the age of 20 cursed by a Dervish prophecy. He spends his life tormented by the impending doom, whilst his mother does everything in her power to stop the prophecy being fulfilled, until his 20th birthday finally arrives.

Bik Eneich: Un Fils

Source: Labiennale

Tunisian director Mehdi Barsaoui’s film centers around a family of three, whose lives descend into chaos after a tragic accident befalls their son on a holiday. His all-important surgical procedure uncovers a deep secret, casting doubt over his family’s future together. With much-acclaimed performances from the whole cast, Barsaoui notes, “Bik Eneich – Un Fils is not just a film about fatherhood; it’s also a film about a couple, their place in society and about empowerment—both feminine and masculine.”

Arab Blues 

Source: Mk2 Films

Manèle Labidi’s comedy, part of the “Venice Days” lineup, follows a psychoanalyst who welcomes a host of vibrant characters at her newly opened clinic in Tunis. Providing a vivid insight into modern Tunisia (the original title was Un divan à Tunis), the film also boasts a star-studded cast comprising Golshifteh Farahani, Hichem Yacoubi and Majd Mastoura.

Source: Harper’s Bazaar Arabia

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