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Friday 16 May – Friday 30 May 2014
Venue: The Filmhouse - Edinburgh

Event: Middle Eastern Film Festival: Postcolonial Struggles: Cinema from the Maghreb.
Organisers and Partners: A partnership between The Middle East Festival, MESP, and the Filmhouse, supported by the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Iranian Festival, Screen Academy Scotland, Scottish Documentary Institute, Goethe-Institut Glasgow, Institut Français d’Ecosse, North Edinburgh Arts, Stills Gallery, Africa in Motion, the Centre for African Studies, University of Edinburgh, Stirling University, and BBC Persian, with funding from Creative Scotland.

Partner cinemas: Filmhouse, Glasgow Film Theatre, DCA, Eden Court, Robert Burns Film Theatre, Bo'ness Hippodrome, North Edinburgh Arts, Institut Français d’Ecosse, and Stills Gallery.

This festival is organised and directed by Neill Walker (on behalf of MESP), with programme curation by James McKenzie, in association with Neill Walker, Stefanie van de Peer, Maryam Ghorbankarimi, and Mother Tongue, and is managed by Neill Walker (on behalf of the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP, Scottish Charity, SC038996).

The purpose of the Festival is to provide a focus for the study and promotion of Middle Eastern cinema. The geographic area covered by the Festival broadly covers that outlined in Oliver Leahman’s ‘Companion Encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African Film,’ which includes Central Asia, North Africa, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Iraq.

Following on from the retrospective on Iranian cinema in 2009, Egyptian cinema in 2010, Turkish cinema in 2011, Kurdish cinema in 2012, cinema of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict in 2013, this year the season will focus on  cinema of the Maghreb (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria).

There will also be a selection of some of the best of contemporary Middle Eastern cinema from other Middle Eastern countries.

Lead Venue: Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh. EH3 9BZ.
Contact and Booking: 0131 228 2688, www.filmhousecinema.com

Full details on: www.mesp.org.uk

 

 

 

 

Middle Eastern Film Festival

This year’s Middle Eastern Film Festival focuses on the cinema of the Maghreb. Little seen on British screens, cinema from this region was born out of the struggles for independence, making it a precursor to the wave of cinematic and cultural revolutions currently sweeping the Middle East, something evident in productions made between the 1960s and the 80s. Recently though, these themes have given way to issues of class, gender, economic deprivation and Islamic fundamentalism. The Maghreb season provides a selection of films that illustrate this, including three films from Tunisia’s golden age, a look at the Moroccan new wave and the groundbreaking work of Nabil Ayouch, and a look at Beur cinema through work by Brahim Fritah, Leila Kilani and Rachid Bouchareb.

Bookending the Maghreb retrospective are two remarkable and contrasting films looking at the relationship between Palestinian informers and the Israeli secret service, Omar and Bethlehem. Other films in the season include Annemarie Jacir’s When I Saw You, Iranian drama The Snow on the Pines, two contrasting Kurdish films, Fatih Akin’s vitriolic documentary Polluting Paradise and a broad selection of short films. Supporting the Filmhouse screenings will be a workshop on the cinema of the Maghreb and a selection of films at other venues, including Stills Gallery, the French Institute and North Edinburgh Arts, details of which can be found on the festival’s website at www.eicsp.org

This festival is organised and directed by Neill Walker (on behalf of MESP), with programme curation by James McKenzie, in association with Neill Walker, Stefanie van de Peer, Maryam Ghorbankarimi and Mother Tongue.

Filmhouse Screenings

 

Omar

Friday 16 May, 6.15pm
Hany Abu-Assad • Occupied Palestinian Territory 2013 • 1h36m
DCP • Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Iyad Hoorani, Samer Bisharat.

A man is arrested for his involvement in the random murder of an Israeli soldier and agrees to become an informant in return for his freedom. Along the way he struggles with his Palestinian identity, the Machiavellian machinations of the Israeli secret service, romantic love, family loyalties and childhood friendships. Nominated for the foreign language film award at this year’s Oscars, this powerful drama is the latest from Hany Abu-Assad, whose previous films Ford Transit, Rana’s Wedding and Paradise Now have featured in past festivals.

The Cinema of the Maghreb:
The Melting Pot and The Pendulum

Saturday 17 May, 9.30am-4pm
In this workshop, Dr Stefanie Van de Peer (Teaching Fellow in Global Cinema at the University of Stirling) will provide an overview of trends and movements in Maghrebi cinema, focusing on women’s contributions to filmmaking and film history.

From 1960s Revolutionary Cinema in Algeria, over Tunisia’s Golden Age in the 1980s, to Morocco’s New Urban Cinema of the 2000s, the Maghreb has seen a diverse and vibrant evolution in film culture.

Richly illustrated with clips and images, this day of cinema history from a neglected area in the Arab world will showcase the most exciting and stand-out performances by directors, actors and festivals, to paint a picture of Maghrebi cinema that reflects the rich treasure trove hidden beneath the surface of politics and religion. Admission is free. To register contact Dr Stefanie Van de Peer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

My Sweet Pepper Land

Saturday 17 May, 6.15pm
Hiner Saleem • France/Germany/Iraq 2013 • 1h40m
DCP • Kurdish, Arabic and Turkish with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Korkmaz Arslan, Golshifteh Farahani, Suat Usta.After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Sheriff Baran, war hero and Elvis fan, is transferred to the lawless town of Erbil (on the border of Iran, Iraq and Turkey), where he finds himself in conflict with the tribal leader Aziz Aga, who controls arms, alcohol and drugs trades across the borders. Heralded as the first ever Kurdish Western, My Sweet Pepper Land is much more than a genre production. It deals with the real and pertinent issues of the continual border conflict, banditry and sectarianism that impact on many Kurds today, and it does so with a dry gallows humour, a sense of absurdity and a deeply felt humanism.

 

Iranian Enough

Sunday 18 May, 3.45pm
Harriet Shawcross • UK 2013 • 50m • Digital • 12A • Documentary
Musician and filmmaker Roxana Vilk grew up in Tehran.

Her parents fled Iran in the wake of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and, since the breakdown of diplomatic relations between London and Tehran, she has been unable to return. In this film Roxana explores her identity as a British-Iranian, and how to teach her children about a country they have never visited. From a tower block in Glasgow, to the glamour of Los Angeles, home to the largest group of Iranians living abroad, she finds out how other Iranian migrants keep their culture alive. While some of the questions she raises are specific to the Iranian diaspora, this film speaks to broader issues of identity faced by immigrants the world over.

PLUS SHORT

Red Burqa

Roxana Vilk • Iran/UK 2009 • 5m • DCP • Persian with English subtitles • 12A • Documentary

A short documentary looking at the philosophy, social function and history of the red burqa, worn in Southern Iran.

Following the screening there will be a Q&A with Roxana Vilk and members of the production team.

Polluting Paradise

Der Müll im Garten Eden
Sunday 18 May, 6.15pm
Fatih Akin • Germany 2012 • 1h25m • DCP
German and Turkish with English subtitles • 12A • Documentary

Fatih Akin (director of Edge of Heaven, Head-On and Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul) returns to the birthplace of his grandparents in this acerbic documentary about the Turkish government’s decision to install a rubbish tip on the hill above the village of Camburnu. Wastewater flows down a tea plantation and into the village. Vermin are attracted by the rotting waste and the village smells like, well, like a rubbish tip. Led by the town mayor the villagers challenge the government’s decision and set up heated protests at the rubbish site. There is no doubting Akin’s stance in this fierce polemic that celebrates local democracy and activism and uses the power of film to bring a national government to account.

Before Snowfall

Før snøen faller
Monday 19 May, 8.15pm
Hisham Zaman • Norway/Iraq/Germany 2013 • 1h36m
DCP • Kurdish with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Abdullah Taher, Suzan Ilir, Bahar Ozen, Billey Demirtas, Ava Abdulsattar.

A boy’s quest for his runaway sister becomes a dangerous journey into the unknown. Shot in four different countries, this ambitious debut from director Hisham Zaman is a memorable achievement. Unfolding as a coming of age drama, this beautifully crafted road movie explores the oppressive power and weight of cultural tradition.

PLUS SHORT

Sanctity (La sainteté)

Ahd • France/Saudi Arabia 2012 • 37m • DCP • Arabic with English subtitles • 12A
Cast: Ahd, Mohammed Baker, Mohammed Osman.

A grieving widow’s friendship with a young boy is looked upon with suspicion by her brother-in-law in this critique of Saudi Arabia’s patriarchal society.

Bab El-Oued City

Tuesday 20 May, 8.35pm
Merzak Allouache • Algeria/France/Germany/Switzerland 1994
1h33m • 35mm • Arabic with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Nadia Kaci, Mohamed Ourdache, Hassan Abidou, Mabrouk Ait Amara.

Boualem, a baker living in the Bab El-Oued region of Algiers, works overnight and cannot get to sleep during the day, due to the presence of a loudspeaker on the roof of his house broadcasting the words of the local Imam. His solution is to steal the loudspeaker, leading to a clamp down by the local fundamentalists on secular life, forcing Boualem into exile.

Merzak Allouache’s searing indictment of Islamic Fundamentalism brings together the humour and sharp political insights that mark him as one of Algeria’s great social realist filmmakers, whilst successfully articulating the growing tension between secular and fundamentalist Algerians.

PLUS SHORT

Mollement un Samedi Matin

Sofia Djama • Algeria/France 2012 • 28m • DCP
French with English subtitles • 15

Laëtitia Eïdo stars in this expose of Algeria’s male dominated society, in which the report of a rape is met with casual indifference by the authorities.

Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets

Ali Zaoua, prince de la rue
Wednesday 21 May, 8.40pm
Nabil Ayouch • Morocco/Tunisia/France/Belgium/USA 2000
1h39m • DCP • Arabic and French with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Saïd Taghmaoui, Abdelhak Zhayra, Mounïm Kbab, Mustapha Hansali, Hicham Moussoune.

A powerful and engaging story about Casablanca’s homeless youth. When Ali Zaoua is killed in a fight with gang leader Dibs, his friends decide to give him a funeral fit for a prince. However, they can barely steal enough money to fund their glue-sniffing habit and the brutal Dibs is after them too.

With this, his most critically acclaimed film, director Nabil Ayouch fully immerses the viewer into the life and dreams of Algeria’s street children, their dreams beautifully realised in a series of glue induced hallucinations. A classic piece of magical realism.

They Are the Dogs C’est eux les chiens...

Thursday 22 May, 8.40pm
Hisham Lasri • France/Morocco 2013 • 1h25m
DCP • Arabic with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Hassan Ben Badida, Yahya El Fouandi, Imad Fijjaj, Jalal Boulftaim.

After 20 years in jail, a political prisoner is released in the midst of the Arab Spring, and a TV crew reporting on the social movement in Morocco decides to follow him. Hisham Lasri’s experimental film is a fascinating take on the way that journalists manipulate and report on human interest stories and on momentous events.

Zero

Friday 23 May, 5.45pm
Nour Eddine Lakhmari • Morocco 2013 • 1h51m
DCP • Arabic with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Younes Bouab, Sonia Chraibi, Ouidad Elma, Mohamed Majd.

An atmospheric film noir set in contemporary Casablanca’s seedy underworld. Zero is a cop and small-time crook whose life takes a change of direction when he investigates the disappearance of a fifteen-year-old teenager and is plunged into a nightmarish world of prostitution and police corruption.

PLUS SHORT

Vers une nouvelle vie

Abdellatif Amajgag • Morocco 2012 • 15m • Digital
French with English subtitles • 12A

Following the death of his mother Saad tries to make a new life for himself.

The Snow on the Pines

Saturday 24 May, 6.15pm
Peyman Moaadi • Iran 2013 • 1h32m
DCP • Persian with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Saber Abbar, Mahnaz Afshar, Bahare Riyahi, Vishka Asayesh.

The directorial debut of Peyman Moaadi (the lead actor in Asghar Faradi’s A Separation) is a gently observed social realist drama centred on the impact of a man’s infidelity on his thirteen-year marriage. His wife finds herself reflecting on her life and forced to choose between tradition and a better future. Beautifully photographed in black and white, this film was a big hit in Iran, winning the best film, script and actress awards at the Iranian critic awards.

Playground Chronicles

Chroniques d’une cour de récré
Sunday 25 May, 6.15pm
Brahim Fritah • France 2012 • 1h25m
DCP • French with English subtitles • 12A
Cast: Yanis Bahloul, Rocco Campochiaro, Vincent Rottiers, Mostefa Djadjam, Dalila Ennadre.

For his feature film debut, French-Moroccan director Brahim Fritah draws on his own personal experiences in this charming rite-of-passage film. It is 1980 and the storm clouds of unemployment, racism and economic recession are gathering. None of this seems to matter though for the mischievous Brahim, more intent on tormenting his teachers and chasing after his classmate Nathalie. A delightful and accomplished piece of magical realism.

Bezness

Monday 26 May, 8.15pm
Nouri Bouzid • France/Tunisia/Germany 1992 • 1h40m
Digital • French with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Abdellatif Kechiche, Jacques Penot, Ghalia Lacroix, Manfred Andrae.

For his third film Nouri Bouzid turns the spotlight onto the Tunisian tourist industry. Roufa, a charming young Tunisian gigolo, seduces lonely European women and men for money, selling love whilst trying to maintain a steady relationship with his fiancée, Khomsa. This precarious situation is disrupted when he befriends a Western photographer, Fred, running an expose on the Tunisian vice trade. A love triangle ensues between Roufa, Khomsa and Fred, with devastating consequences.

A brilliant treatise on the relationship between Islamic tradition and Western permissiveness, between masculinity and femininity in Tunisian society and the lure and corrupting influence of Western affluence.

PLUS SHORT

Bousculades, 9 avril 1938

Sawssen Saya & Tarak Khalladi • Tunisia 2013 • 15m
Digital • French with English subtitles • 15

On 9 April 1938, in an old district of Tunis, Choucha, the head of a brothel and a supporter of the Tunisian resistance movement, learns that her nephew has been killed during anti-colonial demonstrations.

The Silences of the Palace Samt el qusur

Tuesday 27 May, 5.45pm
Moufida Tlatli • France/Tunisia 1994 • 2h10m
Digital • Arabic and French with English subtitles • PG
Cast: Ahmel Hedhili, Hend Sabri, Naija Ouerghi, Fatima Ben Saïdane.

Editor Moufida Tlatli made her directorial debut with this seminal classic, looking at Tunisia’s path from colonial rule to independence. The history and politics are told through the lives of two women: Khedija, a servant in a palace, and her daughter, Alia, a popular singer in the new independent Tunisian state.

PLUS SHORT

Tiwilit Flowers (Les fleurs de Tiwilit)

Wassim Korbi • Tunisia 2012 • 15m • DCP • French with English subtitles • PG

Beautifully shot journey across the North African waterfront.

Red Satin Satin rouge

Wednesday 28 May, 9.00pm
Raja Amari • France/Tunisia 2002 • 1h40m
35mm • Arabic and French with English subtitles • 12A
Cast: Hiam Abbass, Hend El Fahem, Maher Kamoun, Monia Hichri.

A charming romantic drama with a towering lead performance from the great Hiam Abbass. After the death of her husband, Lilia’s life revolves around her rebellious teenage daughter, Salma, until one day, when looking for her daughter, she comes across an exotic nightclub. Gradually she is drawn into a colourful world of belly dancers, and casts aside her repressed lifestyle, becoming one of the club’s most popular dancers by night, whilst still trying to keep her family life together during the day.

When I Saw You Lamma shoftak

Thursday 29 May, 8.40pm
Annemarie Jacir • Occupied Palestinian Territory/Jordan/Greece/
United Arab Emirates 2012 • 1h33m • DCP
Arabic and English with English subtitles • 12A
Cast: Mahmoud Asfa, Ruba Blal, Saley Bakri, Anas Algaralleh.

1967. The world is alive and ripe with possibility – new music, style, hope. But in Jordan, thousands of refugees from Palestine are waiting for their right to return to their homeland. Among them, a young boy, yearning to be reunited with his father, secretly sets out on his own and attaches himself to a group of young freedom fighters who take him under their wing. Together, they embark on a journey of adventure, driven by an unshakeable resolve to be free.

This heartfelt and moving film, Palestine’s entry for the 2013 Academy Awards, is suffused with a distinct sense of this revolutionary time and place.

PLUS SHORT

Tooth of Hope

Nizar Sfair • United Arab Emirates 2012 • 15m
Digital • Arabic and English with English subtitles • 12A

A Lebanese man seeks to make a new life for his family in Abu Dhabi.

Bethlehem

Friday 30 May, 8.45pm
Yuval Adler • Israel/Germany/Belgium 2013 • 1h39m
DCP • Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles • 15
Cast: Tsahi Halevi, Shadi Mar’i, Hitham Omari, Michal Shtamler, Tarik Kopty.

Closing the festival is this collaboration between Israeli filmmaker Yuval Adler and Palestinian journalist Ali Wakad, a hit at last year’s Venice film festival. Bethlehem tells the story of an Israeli secret service officer and his young Palestinian informant, taking us on a journey of conflicting loyalties and impossible friendships. Carefully scripted, brilliantly acted (by a cast of largely non-professionals) and beautifully filmed, this is an impressive debut.

EXHIBITION

‘Haneen lil watten’ -
a yearning for my homeland

Photographs by Jim Yorkston

Filmhouse cafe bar, 11 - 27 May

‘Haneen lil watten’ - a yearning for my homeland is a series of photographic portraits resulting from the photographer’s encounters with various Palestinian people living in Scotland. Using ‘home’ as a central theme, a fluid and diverse concept to people of Palestinian descent, each sitter is viewed in a moment of contemplation as they think of ‘home’. ‘Haneen lil watten’ has been, for the photographer, a personal exploration of the issue of Palestine, now shared with a wider audience.
www.jimyorkston.com

TICKET DEALS

Buy any three (or more) tickets for films in this season and get 15% off
Buy any six (or more) tickets for films in this season and get 25% off
Buy any nine (or more) tickets for films in this season and get 35% off
These offers are available online, in person and on the phone, on both full price and concession price tickets.
Tickets must all be bought at the same time.

Lead Venue: Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh. EH3 9BZ.
Contact and Booking: 0131 228 2688, www.filmhousecinema.com

 

 

School Screening

 

The MEFF School Screening of Playground Chronicles will be on Wednesday 7 May at 10am at Filmhouse 1.

 

North Edinburgh Arts Screening

 

North Edinburgh Arts is delighted to be participating this year in the 2014 Middle Eastern Film Festival with this exciting and controversial dramatization of Algeria’s struggles for independence.

Tickets for the screening are Free.

Venue: North Edinburgh Arts, 15a Pennywell Court, Edinburgh, EH4 4TZ.

Contact: Telephone: 0131 315 2151. www.northedinburgharts.co.uk

Wednesday 28 May, 6pm

Outside the Law * Algeria/ France/ Tunisia/ Belgium/ Italy

Director: Rachid Bouchareb

Cast: Jamel Debbouze, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila

Oscar nominated epic centred on Algeria’s struggle for independence from French rule. Three brothers become separated from each other after being thrown out of their family home in Algeria by French colonists. Moving to Paris, Messaoud joins the French army fighting in Indochina, Abdelkader becomes a leader of the Algerian independence movement and Said seeks his fortune in the shady clubs and boxing halls of Pigalle. Gradually their interconnecting destinies intertwine and they are reunited in Paris, where they must take a stance against the brutality and repression of French colonial rule.

Outside the Law is a truly monumental, all action, film, documenting the last days of French colonial rule.

To book tickets, call box office on 0131 315 2151 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Stills Screenings

 

MEFF Press | A Thousand of Him, Scattered, Relative Newcomers In Diaspora
Stills: Scotland’s Centre for Photography
18 April – 20 July

Bouchra Khalili
Bouchra Khalili is a French-Moroccan video-artist, born in 1975 in Casablanca. The artist lives and works in Paris.

For Speeches (2012), Khalili collaborated with five immigrants living in and around Paris, translating and re-articulating famous writings and speeches from authors such as Malcolm X, Abdelkrim El Khattabi, Mahmoud Darwish and Édouard Glissant into their mother tongues - vernacular Moroccan Arabic, Dari from Afghanistan, Kabyl from Algeria, Malinke from Mali, and Wolof from Senegal. Jointly selecting and translating an excerpt from each of the writings and speeches, their recital in the film (having acquired in the process an unsettling contemporary currency) exposes the tension between oral and written communication, and unpacks the artist's interest in studying the languages used by different ethnic minorities. These issues raise questions that explore the dichotomies between local histories and grand narratives, and explore how an author's voice can be transposed through the physical act of disembodiment.

Bouchra Khalili (b.1975) investigates the experiences of identity, immigration, and transience. Working primarily in film and video, she reflects the nomadic and often transnational state of existence that defines life for many people throughout the world. Khalili uses a mode of poetic documentation to illuminate the lived realities of an increasingly mobilized world.

A Thousand of Him, Scattered: Relative Newcomers In Diaspora will take place between 18 April – 20 July at Stills: Scotland’s Centre for Photography. It is the second exhibition in a trilogy addressing the experiences and increasing phenomena of migration as a critical element of societal transition and has been curated for Stills by Mother Tongue.

Venue: Stills, 23 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1BP.
Information: 0131 622 6200. www.stills.org | www.mothertongue.se

 

 

Institut francais d'Ecosse Screening

 

Sur la planche

A film by Leïla Kilani (2012, 106mins)
With: Soufia Issami, Mouna Bahmad, Nouzha Akel.
Production: Epicentre Films.
In French with English subtitles.

In Tangier, four young women spend their days working in a shrimp-packaging factory and their nights dancing, partying… living. From dust till dawn, the tireless Badia leads the group through the city at a frenzied rhythm.

"[...] a form of black magic that should appeal to audiences everywhere, with bags of energy, a team of explosive young actresses and a poetic hold-up." The Guardian

Tuesday 20 May, 6pm.

Institut francais d'Ecosse, 13 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh, EH3 7TT.

Admission free.

Information: 0131 225 5366. www.ifecosse.org.uk

 

 

Robert Burns Centre Screenings

 

The two films presented at the RBC as part of the Middle Eastern Film Festival deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but from different sides of the wall: ‘Omar’ dealing with the impact of the occupation on the Palestinian populace; ‘Bethlehem’ dealing with the brutalising effect and moral dilemmas faced by both sides. Ultimately though, both films are dramatically powerful and visually stunning stories that eschew the overtly political for a more humanistic approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on both populations.

Omar

Tuesday 20 May, 7.30pm
Hany Abu Assad | Palestine
2013 | 96m | Subtitled

Winner of the jury prize at Cannes’ ‘Un Certain Regard’ and Palestine’s official entry for the foreign language Oscar, it looks at the human cost of the conflict on a young Palestinian who must choose between his friends and his Israeli captors.

Bethlehem

Tuesday 27 May, 8pm
Yuval Adler | Israel 2013 |
99M | Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles

Collaboration between Israeli filmmaker Yuval Adler and Palestinian journalist Ali Wakad, ‘Bethlehem’ tells the story of an Israeli secret service officer and his young Palestinian informant, taking us on a journey of conflicting loyalties and impossible friendships. Carefully scripted, brilliantly acted (from a cast of largely non-professionals) and beautifully filmed, this is Israel’s official entry for the foreign language Oscar.

Introduced by James McKenzie, Middle Eastern Film Festival programmer. Middle Eastern Film Festival www.mesp.org.uk

Venue: Robert Burns Centre, Mill Road, Dumfries, DG2 7BE.
Information: 01387 264808. www.rbcft.co.uk

 

 

GFT Screenings

 

GFT is delighted to be participating in this year’s Middle Eastern Film Festival, featuring a dynamic programme now stretching out to venues across Scotland, and bringing the most exciting filmmakers exploring issues from across the Arab states. With three films from the thought-provoking programme, we look at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from both sides of the wall in Bethlehem and Omar (winner of the ‘Un Certain Regard’ jury prize at Cannes Film Festival 2013), along with a remarkable portrait of rural Turkish life in the face of environmental crisis with Faith Akin’s cutting documentary Polluting Paradise. These dramatically powerful and visually stunning stories offer a refreshing look at life in the Middle East, and we thank the festival organisers at Filmhouse Edinburgh for bringing these films to a whole new audience.

Omar

Sunday 18 May, 5.45pm
Director Hany Abu-Assad
Cast Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Iyad Hoorani
Palestine 2013, 1h36m, subtitles, N/C 15+

The titular Omar (Adam Bakri) is a thoughtful young baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to visit his love, Nadia. When he is captured by the Israeli military for his involvement in the random murder of an Israeli soldier, he is forced to become an informant. A depiction of both personal love and political trials, this film gives a striking portrait of a conflict without end that divides loyalties and makes normal life impossible.

Introduced by Elwira Grossman, Lecturer in School of Modern Languages and Culture at the University of Glasgow.


Polluting Paradise

Der Müll im Garten Eden
Tuesday 20 May, 6.20pm
Director Fatih Akin
Germany 2012, 1h25m, subtitles, N/C 12+

Fatih Akin returns to the birthplace of his grandparents in this acerbic documentary about the Turkish government’s decision to install a rubbish tip on the hill above the village of Camburnu. Led by the town mayor, the villagers challenge the government’s decision and set up heated protests at the rubbish site. There is no doubting Akin’s stance in this fierce polemic that celebrates local democracy and activism and uses the power of film to bring a national government to account.


Bethlehem

Tuesday 27 May, 6.30pm
Director Yuval Adler Cast Tsahi Halevi, Shadi Mar’i, Hitam Omari
Israel/Germany/Belgium 2013, 1h39m, subtitles, N/C 15+

A collaboration between Israeli filmmaker Yuval Adler and Palestinian journalist Ali Wakad, Bethlehem tells the story of an Israeli secret service officer and his young Palestinian informant, taking us on a journey of conflicting loyalties and impossible friendships. Carefully scripted and brilliantly acted from a cast of largely non-professionals, this beautiful film is a striking and unique first feature that examines the Arab-Israeli conflict to impressive effect.

Venue: GFT, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB.
Information: 0141 332 6535. www.glasgowfilm.org

 

 

Eden Court Screenings

 

Eden Court is delighted to be participating in this year’s Middle Eastern Film Festival, now an established feature of the Edinburgh Filmhouse calendar. Both films chosen this year deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but from different sides of the wall. Omar is the latest film from Palestinian writer-director Hany Abu Assad (whose Ford Transit, Rana’s Wedding and Paradise Now have all featured in past festivals). Winner of the jury prize at Cannes’ ‘Un Certain Regard’ and Palestine’s official entry for the foreign language Oscar, it looks at the human cost of the conflict on a young Palestinian who must choose between his friends and his Israeli captors. Bethlehem (Israeli’s official entry for the foreign language Oscar and winner of six Israeli academy awards and the Fedeora award at Venice) is the feature length debut of writer-director Yuval Adler. It also tells the story of a relationship between the Israeli secret service and a Palestinian informant, but whereas Hany Abu Assad’s film confines itself to the impact of the relationship on the young Palestinian, Yuval Adler’s film shuttles back and forth between differing points-of-view. Both films counterbalance each other beautifully, Omar dealing with the impact of the occupation on the Palestinian populace; Bethlehem dealing with the brutalising effect and moral dilemmas faced by both sides. Ultimately though, both films are dramatically powerful and visually stunning stories that eschew the overtly political for a more humanistic approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on both populations.
 
Omar

Monday 19 May, 8.15pm
*Hany Abu Assad * Palestine * 2013 * 96 mins *Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
Cast: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Iyad Hoorani

Hany Abu Assad’s Omar is both a romance and a thriller. It centres on the life choices of the protagonist, who is arrested for his involvement in the random murder of an Israeli soldier and agrees to become an informant in return for his freedom. There are many twists and turns along the way, leading towards and abrupt and unexpected climax, as Omar seeks to struggle with his Palestinian identity, the Machievellian machinations of the Israeli secret service, his love, family loyalties and childhood friendships. Whilst not overtly political, Hany Abu Assad’s film is deeply critical of the Israeli government, represented both by the secret service and the ever present presence of the wall, and a conflict without end that divides loyalties and makes normal life impossible.
 
Bethlehem

Sunday 25 May, 8.15pm
* Yuval Adler * Israel-Germany-Belgium* 2013 * 99 mins * Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Cast: Tsahi Halevi, Shadi Mar’i, Hitam Omari

Collaboration between Israeli filmmaker Yuval Adler and Palestinian journalist Ali Wakad, Bethlehem tells the story of an Israeli secret service officer and his young Palestinian informant, taking us on a journey of conflicting loyalties and impossible friendships. Carefully scripted, brilliantly acted (from a cast of largely non-professionals) and beautifully filmed, this is, indeed, an impressive first feature.

Venue: Eden Court, Bishops Road, Inverness, IV3 5SA.
Information: 01463 234 234. www.eden-court.co.uk

 

 

DCA Screenings

 

DCA is delighted to be participating in this year’s Middle Eastern Film Festival, now an established feature of the Edinburgh Filmhouse calendar. Both films chosen this year deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but from different sides of the wall. Omar is the latest film from Palestinian writer-director Hany Abu Assad (whose Ford Transit, Rana’s Wedding and Paradise Now have all featured in past festivals). Winner of the jury prize at Cannes’ ‘Un Certain Regard’ and Palestine’s official entry for the foreign language Oscar, it looks at the human cost of the conflict on a young Palestinian who must choose between his friends and his Israeli captors. Bethlehem (Israeli’s official entry for the foreign language Oscar and winner of six Israeli academy awards and the Fedeora award at Venice) is the feature length debut of writer-director Yuval Adler. It also tells the story of a relationship between the Israeli secret service and a Palestinian informant, but whereas Hany Abu Assad’s film confines itself to the impact of the relationship on the young Palestinian, Yuval Adler’s film shuttles back and forth between differing points-of-view. Both films counterbalance each other beautifully, Omar dealing with the impact of the occupation on the Palestinian populace; Bethlehem dealing with the brutalising effect and moral dilemmas faced by both sides. Ultimately though, both films are dramatically powerful and visually stunning stories that eschew the overtly political for a more humanistic approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on both populations.
 
Bethlehem

Saturday 17 May, 3.45pm
* Yuval Adler * Israel-Germany-Belgium* 2013 * 99 mins * Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Cast: Tsahi Halevi, Shadi Mar’i, Hitam Omari

Collaboration between Israeli filmmaker Yuval Adler and Palestinian journalist Ali Wakad, Bethlehem tells the story of an Israeli secret service officer and his young Palestinian informant, taking us on a journey of conflicting loyalties and impossible friendships. Carefully scripted, brilliantly acted (from a cast of largely non-professionals) and beautifully filmed, this is, indeed, an impressive first feature.


Omar

Sunday 18 May, 3.45pm
*Hany Abu Assad * Palestine * 2013 * 96 mins *Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
Cast: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Iyad Hoorani

Hany Abu Assad’s Omar is both a romance and a thriller. It centres on the life choices of the protagonist, who is arrested for his involvement in the random murder of an Israeli soldier and agrees to become an informant in return for his freedom. There are many twists and turns along the way, leading towards and abrupt and unexpected climax, as Omar seeks to struggle with his Palestinian identity, the Machievellian machinations of the Israeli secret service, his love, family loyalties and childhood friendships. Whilst not overtly political, Hany Abu Assad’s film is deeply critical of the Israeli government, represented both by the secret service and the ever present presence of the wall, and a conflict without end that divides loyalties and makes normal life impossible.

Venue: DCA, 152 Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4DY.
Information: 01382 909 900. www.dca.org.uk

 

 

Bo'ness Hippodrome Screenings

 

Special Event: Five Broken Cameras

Thursday, 19 June, 7.30pm

Winner of audience prizes at festivals around the world, and long- listed for an Oscar, this is the story of Bil’in, a West Bank Palestinian village, whose inhabitants have long been mounting a resistance to the Israeli appropriation of their land. It is told via the footage of local man Emad who bought cameras to make home-movies about his new born son...

“One of the best, most involving documentaries of recent years... gives us a direct experience of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of oppression” Philip French, The Observer.

This evening’s screening will be introduced by Provost Pat Reid on behalf of the Antonine Friendship Link and followed by a Q&A with panellists including Michael Connarty MP.

Dir. Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi / Palestine/Israel / 2011 / Hebrew & Arabic with English sub-titles / 1h 34m + intro + Q&A With: Emad Burnat, Soraya Brunat, Mohammed Burnat


Omar

Thursday, 26 June, 7.30pm

The Hippodrome is proud to present this special screening in partnership with the Middle Eastern Film Festival. A young Palestinian freedom fighter is arrested for his involvement in the random murder of an Israeli soldier and agrees to become an informant in return for his freedom. Along the way he struggles with his Palestinian identity, the machinations of the Israeli secret service, romantic love, family loyalties and childhood friendships.

Nominated for the Foreign Language Film Award at this year’s Oscars, this powerful thriller considers betrayal – both real and imagined – and the psychological pressures faced by those living under occupation.

Dir. Hany Abu-Assad / Palestine / 2013 / 1h36m / Arabic/Hebrew with English subtitles

With: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Iyad Hoorani, Samer Bisharat.

Venue: Hippodrome, 10 Hope Street, Bo'ness, EH51 0AA.
Information: 01324 506850. www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org/venues/hippodrome