Hany Abu Assad’s ‘Omar’ – Deconstructing Two States

Hany Abu Assad’s new film Omar won the best film award at the Dubai International Film Festival last week, cementing his reputation as one of the foremost Arab directors of the moment. His Paradise Now (2006) won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign language film, and it received an Oscar nomination in the same category. Omar won a jury prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes this year. So Abu Assad’s work comes with a lot of expectations. Continue reading Hany Abu Assad’s ‘Omar’ – Deconstructing Two States

Documentary looks at Kafr al-Dewar events in Egypt, 1952

Egyptian documentary film-maker Mohamed Elkaliouby has delved into one of the most controversial yet illuminating incidents of modern Egyptian history – the workers strikes of Kafr al-Dewar in August 1952. The mobilization for better wages and conditions led to a clashes with police and an infamous trial during which two young men, Mostafa Khamis and Hasan AlBakary were sentenced to death. Continue reading Documentary looks at Kafr al-Dewar events in Egypt, 1952

Iranian Director Kiarostami Discusses His Work in Doha

Speaking in Doha during a special retrospective of his films last week, celebrated Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami talked a little bit about his work. He prefers not to say much by way of interpretation of his work, leaving it to the individual viewer to come to his own conclusions, but he was coaxed to say some words about his first ‘breakthrough’ film, Where Is The Friend’s House? from 1987. Continue reading Iranian Director Kiarostami Discusses His Work in Doha

The Human Touch in Jeddah: A Saudi Film

Ahd Kamel’s Sanctity was a real surprise at the Gulf Film Festival. Saudi cinema has taken off in recent years despite a multitude of obtacles – an informal ban on public cinema houses and state funding of cinema, and frequent interference from the religious police in attempts to promote cinema such as the Jeddah film festival that began in 2007. Individuals such as Saudi director Haifaa Mansour have, however, represented a beacon of hope for budding directors, with a series of works that have been well-received in international film forums, including last year’s WadjdaContinue reading The Human Touch in Jeddah: A Saudi Film