What if out of that pain we managed to created another game of our own, this time as adults, recreating our parent's life? This concept is exactly what made Karim Goury's documentary The Man Inside a wonderfully important and personal film, one that I walked away from at once touched and disturbed by at the recent Gulf Film Festival.
What I made up for in enthusiasm for GFF (as insiders call the weeklong festival which is being held this year from April 11th to the 17th) I more than lacked in understanding. Here I was thinking this was a regional affair, mostly made up of shorts and student films from countries within the Arabian peninsula, with attendance by Emiratis and UAE expats living in Dubai, when I am faced with the fact that this year GFF is a worldly event, chock-full of films (more than I can ever manage to watch or write about) from all over the world. To be precise, 169 films from 43 countries, of which 78 are world premieres. All held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.
Haroun's latest film Grisgris has a groundbreaking, pioneering aspect to it that cannot be overlooked. The first official entry from Chad to the Academy Awards Foreign Language Oscar race, it is simply a moot point that the film did not make the shortlist. It had already premiered in Cannes, where the film's director of photography Antoine Heberlé won the Vulcan Award, screened at festivals around the world, and is getting ready for a theatrical release in the U.S. soon, through prestigious world cinema distributors Film Movement.
In the first half of my profile of Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad -- "Omar in Toronto": Nazareth, in the Land of Film and Hany -- I wanted to showcase the city behind the man. Within its creative chaos and subtle but critical balances lie not only the clues to Abu-Assad's genius, but many of the answers that could help us navigate today's hyper-divided world. I also realize that Abu-Assad is a man whose ideas are groundbreaking and powerfully interesting, so here I left the talking to him. I simply guided some thoughts his way and let his personal truth, his voice, uninterrupted shine through.
Omar screens as a Special Presentation at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, starting September 10th.
"Miu Miu Women's Tales" is a series of six films commissioned by the Italian fashion house to combine "interesting cinematic themes and strong feminine points of view with fashion" and past contributors have included Zoe Cassavetes, Lucrecia Martel and Massy Tadjedin. The final products make the viewer believe in the magic of fashion but also tap into the great power of being a woman, a real woman, in today's world.
This week, Cooper is my style icon. Not a woman this time, but someone equally at home — and strangely stylish in each — wearing Hefty or Armani. And don’t even get me started on how eagerly I’m awaiting the next installment of The Hangover 3…
AND yours truly. I'm an official REBEL
During a magical afternoon, while sitting on a terrace in Madinat Jumeirah with birds chirping all around us, I caught up with The Sapphires handsomely understated director Wayne Blair and beautifully smart actress Shari Sebbens, who plays Kay. They shared their thoughts on the film, what it means to be an Indigenous Australian and why sometimes it's good to want to be Ralph Macchio.
In person, Abu-Assad is a man bigger than life. Tall, with a hoarse, sultry voice, a soft hint of a hard-to-place accent, he's both boyishly vulnerable and magnetically strong. Perhaps too inconceivably insecure for a filmmaker of his status. Yet while he talks, looking you straight in the eyes with his own captivating set, everyone else in the room disappears, even if that "room" happens to be a noisy beachside lounge on La Croisette, filled with media from all over the world.
It is said that a great film should make you walk out of the cinema feeling like a better person. But with his latest oeuvre Omar, Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad made me want to be a better person.
Zana and Dana are children of the land made infamous by Hussein's atrocities, but they lean upon the legend of an unlikely ally to help them survive their difficult surroundings and miserable situation: Superman. Or, as the brothers call him, "Zooperman." When they surreptitiously watch the superhero in action through a hole in the wall of their local cinema, they decide to go to Amrika (America) to find Superman and live within the shelter of his super life. "Does Zooperman have a father?" One asks the other. "Yes, his name is Super Dad!"
Sometimes it amazes me how much Shakespeare knew, so long ago, about the modern world...
Presented in the "Venice Days -- Giornate degli Autori" sidebar at this year's Venice Film Festival, May in the Summer is everything that I'd hoped it would be: profound, passionate, funny, romantic, empowering -- the perfect half to the "diptych" Dabis admits she began with Amreeka, hinged by their common theme of "Otherness" and displacement. But where Amreeka dealt with the Arab-ness of Faour's character as being "the Other," May in the Summer brilliantly shows the challenges of being American, even Arab-American, in the Arab world.
"For a collective censorship, for an oppressive mentality, making films about politics that seem very progressive, very revolutionary is much more comfortable than making films that question you, as a human being. And that's where the real censorship lies." Meeting Yousry Nasrallah face to face is a true luxury. Not because the Egyptian filmmaker makes himself precious -- quite the opposite really -- but because Nasrallah's extraordinary insight, languid expression and sensual voice all combine to create the most perfect conversation.
Sitting in conversation with Abdulhamid Juma, the Chairman of both the Dubai International Film Festival and the Gulf Film Festival, is a film-lover's dream come true. It's unique to find a perfect businessman who is also full of inspirational insight and possesses an infectious passion for cinema. Juma exudes an undeniable belief in the motto that has driven DIFF since its inception in 2004: "Bridging Cultures, Meeting Minds."