Discovery: Cinema of the Turbulent Arab East


This program reveals an entire new world to our audience. Today the Arab East is a seat of conflicts (often bloody) and contradictions, threatening the stability of our planet. Mass media regularly inform us about different aspects of this critical situation. But what does real life look like from within? The Festival audience will see it in the movies created in recent years in different countries of the Middle East and Maghreb often with the participation of the colonizers – West European countries. One tangle of contradictions is related to the Israeli-Palestinian opposition, into which the Arab family from the movie “Attack” is dragged.The second focal point is the clash between traditions and contemporary life. As a result ten-year-old Noojoom tries to get a divorce from her hated husband (“I am Noojoom, I Am 10 and I Am Divorced”, Yemen). The program introduces films which won acclaim at recent festivals in Berlin and the Cannes. It is well known that Egyptian cinema, represented by such world-class masters as Youssef Chahine and ?al?? Ab? Sayf, has been the most popular among the Arab countries. Today their traditions are carried on by Mohamed Diab, who studies the contradictions between ideas and the reality of the politics of Muslim brotherhood following the downfall of Mohamed Morsi in “Clash” which was the opening film of “Un Certain Regard” at the Cannes Film Festival. Shortly before that the Tunisian film “Hedi”, highlighting ways of personal emancipation in traditional society, caused a sensation in Berlin. The winner of “Semaine de la Critique” in the Cannes was Oliver Laxe’s film “Mimosas” which traces the main ways of the formation of cultural traditions in Morocco and pinpoints the key problems of the modern-day cultural cooperation.  Finally, “Bilal” demonstrates the peculiarities of animation in the region we are interested in. These are but few diverse examples of the fruitful and contradictory development of film art in a situation when personal problems are inevitably closely linked to economic, ethnic and political issues.

Kirill Razlogov