Middle Eastern cinema showcased

Three films shown at Cannes present strong heroes

Three recent films will show a different side of life in the Middle East. The small festival Arabské noci (Arabian Nights) will run Feb. 21–24 at kino Lucerna with three films plus a debate in English with some of the filmmakers and other guests. The festival has the tag line “three films, three stories, three heroes.”

The festival screenings will be English-friendly, but later showings after the films go into Czech distribution will not be.

While Iranian films have long been popular at international film festivals and with art house audiences, films from the Lebanon, Egypt and other locations in the Middle East have lagged behind. The three films in the Arabian Nights festival are meant to show that the situation is changing.

“Contemporary Arab cinema is more productive and interesting than many of the older European film industries. Its films are being screened at the most prestigious film festivals, it produces and co-produces dozens of films, it has its own agile production and festival centers, and contrary to all formal logic and our stereotypes it also includes many strong and outstanding female directors, producers, and actresses. We’ve prepared the Arabian Nights screening block to introduce these remarkable women,” Ivan Hronec, the director of film distributor FilmEurope, said.

The Lebanese film Capernaum (Kafarnaum / Capharnaüm) won the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes International Film Festival, where it received a 15-minute standing ovation, and is nominated for an Academy Award for best Foreign Language Film.
The story focuses on a boy living in the slums, who after he runs away from an abusive home becomes entangled in crime and eventually confronts his parents in court. His testimony traces his adventures searching for money, food and shelter in an unforgiving city.

The gritty style of the film has been compared to Slumdog Millionaire, and also fits in with bleak urban dramas going back to Bicycle Thief (1948) and Los Olvidados (1950).
The Egyptian film Yomeddine won the François Chalais Prize at Cannes. In the film, a Coptic leper and his orphaned apprentice leave their leper colony for the first time to search for what remains of their families.

The films director and producer, Abu Bakr Shawky and Dina Emam, will attend the festival and also participate in the debate on Film and the Middle East.

The final film in the festival is Girls of the Sun (Bojovnice slunce / Les Filles du soleil), directed by Eva Husson and starring Golshifteh Farahani.

In Kurdistan, the commander of the Girls of the Sun battalion is preparing to liberate her hometown from extremists, hoping to find her son who is held hostage. A French journalist comes to cover the attack.

For more information visit www.kinolucerna.cz or www.facebook.com/events

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