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Films in Arabic

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Excuse My French
Director: Amr Salama
Egypt   |   2014   |   99 mins
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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12-year-old Hany tries to fit in at his new governmental school after his father suddenly drops dead, leaving his mother in debt and unable to continue to afford his private education. Not only is Hany clearly from a more privileged background than the working class boys in his new class, but he is also the only Christian in a room full of Muslims Learn More
Adios Carmen
Director: Mahamed Amin Benamraoui
Morocco   |   2013   |   104 mins
Berber, Spanish, Arabic, with subtitles in English
$16.99
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Dir. Mohamed Amin Benamraoui, Morocco, GFI grant 2013. In a gossip-prone Moroccan village in the summer of 1975, an abandoned boy develops a life-changing bond with Carmen, the Spanish woman working at the local cinema. Learn More
PEGASUS (Pegase)
Director: Mohamed Mouftakir
Morocco   |   2010   |   104 minutes
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$16.99
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Synopsis Zineb is an emotionally exhausted psychiatrist assigned to Rihana, a traumatized and pregnant young woman found in the street muttering unintelligibly about “The Lord of the Horse.” A flashback sequence returns us to Rihana’s childhood, where her dictatorial father, horseman chief of his tribe, raises her as the son his legacy demands. Trapped in parental delusions, Rihana falls in love with a young man with whom she carves out the beginnings of her own life. Soon, Rihana’s story awakens repressed thoughts in Zineb’s own troubled mind, and reality merges into a haunted fever-dream of fear and denial in this visually striking, award-winning psychological thriller.


About the Director Mohamed Mouftakir was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1965. He has co-written several film and television scripts and served as first assistant director on a number of feature films. His short films, La Danse du Foetus and Fin du Moins, both received the Grand Jury Prize at the Tangiers National Film Festival in 2005 and 2007, respectively. Pegasus is his first feature film.


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Featured in the Global Lens 2012 film series.

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QARANTINA
Director: Oday Rasheed
Iraq   |   2010   |   90 minutes
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis A broken family under an incestuous patriarch lives uneasily within the gated courtyard of a dilapidated Baghdad house. The pregnant daughter has fallen silent, finding some protection from the patriarch’s young second wife and his preteen son. Meanwhile, hard up for money, the household must live with a sullen and imperious boarder, a contract killer. In such a house, though, it may be that freedom and safety actually lie beyond the gates. Iraqi filmmaker Oday Rasheed’s second feature gorgeously captures contemporary Baghdad’s moody interior and stunned atmosphere, echoed in performances by a formidable cast who suggest unexpected resilience in the wake of catastrophe.


About the Director Oday Rasheed was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1973. He founded the production company Enlil Film and Arts and co-founded the Iraqi Independent Film Centre, an educational center in Baghdad for young filmmakers. His first feature film, Underexposure, received the Best Film Award at the Singapore International Film Festival in 2005, the Golden Hawk Award at the Arab Film Festival Rotterdam in 2005 and the Best Script Award at the Oran International Arab Film Festival in 2007. Qarantina is his second feature film.


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Featured in the Global Lens 2012 film series.

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CAIRO 678
Director: Mohamed Diab
Egypt   |   2010   |   100 minutes
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Three Cairene women from different backgrounds join together in uneasy solidarity to combat the sexual harassment that has impacted each of their lives. We begin on an overcrowded bus line, dreaded by Fayza as a daily site of humiliation and anguish. Responding to a self-defense talk by Seba, whose own assault has driven her marriage apart, Fayza fights back—and soon has a police detective searching for her amid public panic. Meanwhile, Nelly, an aspiring comic, faces pressure from family to drop a lawsuit against her attacker. Mohamed Diab’s deftly braided narrative tells a gripping, timely social tale through its patchwork of interconnected lives and deeds.


About the Director Mohamed Diab was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1977. Having migrated to Egypt, he studied commerce at Suez Canal University in Ismailia before pursuing film at the New York Film Academy. Prior to making his directorial debut, he was writer of four films (Real Dreams, The Island, The Replacement, and Congratulations). Cairo 678 is his first feature film.



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Featured in the Global Lens 2013 film series.


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MASQUERADES (Mascarades)
Director: Lyes Salem
Algeria   |   2008   |   92 minutes
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Algeria’s official submission to the 2009 Academy Awards


Synopsis After working for much of his life as a gardener in his dusty Algerian village, Mounir dreams of improving his family’s fortune and gaining a measure of respect by marrying off his narcoleptic sister, Rym, to a “real gentleman.” However, Rym has other plans—she dreams of marrying Mounir’s best friend, Khliffa, who has secretly courted her for years. When Mounir lashes out at village gossip with a fib that he has promised Rym to a wealthy outsider, she comes out of her sleepy stupor to embrace the rumor and press her real betrothed into action. Beautifully brought to life by a memorable cast—including director Lyes Salem as the cocky but compassionate bumbler Mounir—this heartfelt comedy suggests that when dreams become reality, it’s time to wake up.


About the Director Lyes Salem was born in Alger, Algeria in 1973. After studying at the National Conservatory for Superior Dramatic Arts, he performed in some of the most respected theaters in the country. His second short film, Cousines, received France's César award for Best Short Film in 2005. As an actor, he has appeared in a number of films, including Alex, Banlieue 13 and L’Ecole de la Chair. Mascarades is his first feature film.


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DVD Release Date: July 26, 2011


 


Featured in the Global Lens 2010 film series.


 

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
Director: Faouzi Bensaïdi
Morocco   |   2006   |   94 minutes
Arabic and French, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Souad is a prostitute whose best friend is Kenza, a tough traffic cop. Kamel is a stony-eyed contract killer who receives his hit orders via the Internet; he is also Souad's favorite customer. When Kenza falls in love with Kamel, the two begin a bizarre courtship doomed by their disparate lines of work, and a persistent cyber-snooping hacker who stumbles upon the site where Kamel receives his murderous contracts. Moroccan actor-director Faouzi Bensaïdi's promiscuously stylish film is a new vision of an old culture, unveiling an uncommon Casablanca caught in a world wide web of associations and consequences.

About the Director Faouzi Bensaïdi was born in Meknes, Morocco in 1967. After studying at the Rabat Institute of Dramatic Art, he began his career directing for the stage, and in 1997, he directed his first short film, The Cliff. His two subsequent shorts, The Wall and The Rain Line, won prizes at the Cannes International Film Festival, and the Venice International Film Festival. His first feature film, A Thousand Months, premiered in 2003. What a Wonderful World is his second feature film.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2009 film series.

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ENOUGH! (Barakat!)
Director: Djamila Sahraoui
Algeria, France   |   2006   |   94 minutes
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis Set in war-torn Algeria in the 1990s, Enough! follows two women on the dangerous search for the younger woman's husband, a journalist whose writings resulted in his disappearance. Both women represent anachronisms in Islamist Algeria: the younger woman is a doctor, the older a nurse with vivid memories of Algeria's fight for independence. Ignoring curfews and the constant threat of ambush by armed militias, the two women challenge the men they encounter to accept them and help them with their search. Their journey leads them across the picturesque landscapes of Algeria, to a deeper understanding of how their lives were shaped by their country's history.

About the Director Djamila Sahraoui was born in Algeria in 1950, and has lived in France since 1975. After studying literature in Algeria, she studied filmmaking at l'IDHEC in Paris. Her early short films include Houria (1980), Avoir 2000 ans dans les Aurès (1990), and Prénom Marianne (1992). Sahraoui's documentaries, La Moitié du ciel d'Allah (1995), Algérie, la vie quand même (1998) and Algérie, la vie toujours (2001), explore conditions in Algeria during the decade of civil war. She was awarded the Villa Médicis Hors les Murs prize in 1997. Enough! is her first feature film.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2007 film series.


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KILOMETRE ZERO
Director: Hiner Saleem
Iraqi Kurdistan and France   |   2005   |   96 minutes
Arabic, French and Kurdish, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis A story of ethnic conflict between Kurds and Iraqis in the context of the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s. The central story of the film is set at a time when Kurds were conscripted to serve in the Iraqi army, where they were brutally abused, as a despised minority in Saddam Hussein's military. Kilometre Zero pairs a Kurdish soldier, under orders to return the body of a dead soldier to his family, with an Iraqi taxi driver who will drive them cross-country to the dead soldier's home. Scenes between the men, in the close quarters of their truck, are interwoven with scenes of often comic incompetence of Iraqi soldiers and officers.

About the Director Hiner Saleem was born in Acna, Iraqi Kurdistan, in 1954. He fled to Italy by way of Syria in 1971, to escape the oppression of Saddam Hussein, and has lived in Paris for the past ten years. He is a fervent advocate for the rights of the Kurdish people, and regards April 9, 2003, the day of the fall of Saddam Hussein, as the most beautiful day of his life. Saleem was honored as Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the government of France in 2005. His films include Beyond Our Dreams (2000), and Vodka Lemon (2003), for which he won the Contro Corrente Grand Prize at the 2003 Venice Film Festival. His Long Live the Bride...and the Liberation of Kurdistan (1997) won the prize for best script at the Angers Film Festival. Kilometre Zero (2005) was selected for competition at the Festival Cannes 2005.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2007 film series.


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THIRST (Atash)
Director: Tawfik Abu Wael
Israel/Palestine   |   2004   |   110 minutes
Arabic, with subtitles in English
$24.95
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Synopsis After one of his daughters "shamed" him, Abu Shukri brought his family to the edge of nowhere, to scratch out a living by burning wood to make charcoal. When he decided that the family would build a pipeline to bring in running water, he set off a chain of events that alters life irrevocably. A masterfully shot tale of repression and control in a harsh landscape that examines the dynamic of power within a family stretched to the breaking point. Working with a cast of first-time actors, director Tawfik Abu Wael crafts a story that is both archetypal and yet deeply rooted in the social conflicts of the Middle East.

About the Director Tawfik Abu Wael was born in the Palestinian town of Um El-Fahim in Israel, in 1976. He graduated from Tel Aviv University, where he studied film directing, and worked in the film archive from 1996 to 1998. He taught drama at the Hassan Arafe School in Jaffa from 1997 to 1999. His previous works include the shorts Bread (1997), Hashish and the Moon (1997), and Diary of a Male Whore (2000), and the documentary Waiting for Sallah El-Din (2001). Thirst is his first feature film, it won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2004 Cannes International Film Festival.

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Featured in the Global Lens 2006 film series.

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