December 13, 2013
A taste of Arab-themed cinema today
It’s no news that Buenos Aires offers a variety of film programmes for all tastes. You have new mainstream releases, art house features, film series at the Sala Lugones, the Malba and the Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas, and, of course, film festivals.
Film festivals are particularly important because they give you the chance to get acquainted with filmographies you know little about. Festivals are, for the most part, places of cinematic discovery.
Now there’s a much precious opportunity to explore new frontiers with the third edition of the Festival Latinoaméricano de Cine Latinarab, starting today and running through November 11, a spot for Arab filmmakers to come in contact with local viewers. It also includes production and market meetings, works in progress and academic and educational activities.
Organized by Cine Fértil, the LATINARAB3 features a plurality of works — from renowned filmmakers to novel ones, from popular and traditional features to groundbreaking ones. There is an official competition with full length feature films and short films, non-competitive sections, a retrospective of Arab cinema, cinema from Lebanon in the section Guest Country of Honour, and Latin American cinema in the section Panorama LatinArab.
—Les mécréants (Mohcine Besri, 2011) focuses on three young Islamists who kidnap a group of actors about to go on tour. When the kidnappers arrive at the place of detention, they find themselves cut off from their base.
What follows is a seven-day no exit situation, in which both sides are forced to live together, confront each other and challenge their mutual prejudices.
—Palestine Stereo (Rashid Masharawi, 2013) is a follow up to his widely acclaimed dark comedy Laila’s Birthday. Palestine Stereo is a compelling and ironic drama about two brothers on the West Bank who, rendered homeless by an Israeli air strike, hustle odd jobs to raise enough money to emigrate to Canada.
—Zabana! (Saïd Ould-Khelifa, 2013) is an impassioned, meticulously researched account of the short life of Algerian freedom fighter Ahmed Zabana, whose execution in 1956 by French colonial authorities ignited the Battle of Algiers, and the crucial phase of Algeria’s struggle for independence.
—Chaos, Disorder (Nadine Khan, 2012) tells the story of Manal, Zaki and Mounir, all in their twenties and living in a confined community where basic needs are met yet chaos and disorder brew.
—Two Meters of This Land (Ahmad Natche, 2012) takes place on a summer evening in Ramallah. The film takes an observational approach — more contemplative, less informative — immersing the audience in the space and sounds of Palestine as the characters move through their everyday lives.
—Ok, Enough, Goodbye (Daniel García & Rania Attieh, 2010): a coming of age story about an adult man finding comfort for the first time.
—Sleepless Nights (Eliane Raheb, 2012): a documentary about Assaad Shaftari, a former high-ranking leader in a Christian militia who was responsible for many killings during Lebanon’s civil war, and Maryam Saiidi, the mother of a kidnapped young fighter.
—Stray Bullet (Georges Hachem, 2010). Noha is about to get married. Her family is relieved to see her take advantage of the last chance before being officially declared a spinster, just like her sister.
—Habi, la extranjera (María Florencia Álvarez, 2013). Analía’s mother sends her to Buenos Aires to deliver some handicrafts. She unexpected walks into a Muslim temple and finds her true calling.
Where & When. Gaumont, Ave. Rivadavia 1635; Sala Leonardo Favio - Biblioteca del Congreso de la Nación, Alsina 1835; Alliance Francaise, Av. Córdoba 936; Complejo Bajo Plaza, Sarmiento 1551; Hotel BAUEN, Av. Callao 360.