‘Engaging narratives,’ Arab Film Festival

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IT’S the most up to date film festival of them all and almost upon us, as the 10th Arab Film Festival Australia prepares to share the stories and culture of the Arab world with Australian audiences.

After the Battle
After the Battle
This year there will be feature films and short films from 10 countries and, as in recent years, it demonstrates the resurgence of Arab filmmaking and storytelling since the Arab Spring, providing the perfect platform for filmmakers to share Arab experiences and address misrepresentations of Arab peoples and cultures through engaging narratives.

Arabic, the organisers say, is now the second-most spoken language in NSW, and the line-up of films by Arab filmmakers from all over the world are of the here and now. Festival co-director Fadia Abboud says, “The Arab world has been rocked by change and this is what is inspiring and fuelling the new stories we will be seeing on the big screen.”

The festival opening night will feature the Australian premiere of the Egyptian film, “After The Battle” by Yousry Nasrallah. This exploration of the aftermath of the so-called Battle of the Camels in 2011 and follows the storylines of three characters in different class situations, looking at leftism, fundamentalism and expatriation.

In the ‘subjective’ documentary “Sleepless Nights,” the stories of a Lebanese militia and a mother longing for her missing son is calculated to disturb audiences by confronting the cycles of violence in Lebanon. By contrast, A World Not Ours, set in in the refugee camp of Ein el-Helweh in southern Lebanon, is described as “intimate, and often humorous.”

“Sanctity,” a rare Saudi Arabian film, tells the story of Areej, a pregnant Saudi widow, who will endure anything to protect her unborn child.

“Rough Hands  introduces” Mustapha is a 40-year-old barber in Casablanca, has an underground business.

In Baghdad Messi, set in  Iraq, 2009 10-year-old Hamoudi and his friends are eagerly looking forward to the Champions League finale FC-Barcelona – Manchester United when the TV breaks down.

It could happen anywhere, but it’s more of a problem in Baghdad.

The Arab Film Festival Australia, at the Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive, McCoy Circuit, Acton, July 4 to 7, bookings to www.nfsa.gov.au or 6248 2000. Tickets $11, $9, or $80 for 10 tickets Max Pass. Full program at www.arabfilmfestival.com.au

Canberra screenings:

7pm, Thursday July 4, After the Battle

7pm, Friday, July 5, A World Not Ours

4.30pm, Saturday, July 6, In My Mother’s Arms + Baghdad Messi

7.30pm, Saturday, July 6, The Repentant + Sanctity

2pm, Sunday, July 7, Sleepless Nights

4.30pm, Sunday, July 7, Rough Hands + This is London

Baghdad Messi
Baghdad Messi

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Helen Musa
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