Saturday, December 29, 2007

Baghdad International Film Festival

"French short film 'La Danse, l'art de la rencontre' (Dance and the Art of Encounters) won first prize at the four-day Baghdad international film festival which ended on Saturday. Domenica Hervieu's documentary, a poetic exploration of the world of dance, was followed by 'Abu Ghraib and Kilo 160', a documentary by Iraqi director M. Nafs, the president of the jury Akil Mahdi announced. The film by Nafs tells the tragic story of Iraq's 14-member taekwondo team who were kidnapped and slaughtered in the western Anbar province in 2006 as they returned from a competition in Jordan. The bodies of 13 of the team were found earlier this year

"In third place was 'Palm Whisper' by Egyptian director Shireen Shaith. Nafs was the only winner present at the awards ceremony, which was held under tight security. The festival, held at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, screened 63 films from around the world. [...]

"The Iraqi film industry dates back to the 1940s and was at its most popular in the 1970s and 1980s, when going to the cinema became a weekly family outing.However the 1991 Gulf war and the economic sanctions that followed saw cinemas go into decline. The turmoil that followed the 2003 invasion saw many cinemas burned down."

Source: AFP, December 29, 2007

"Chaos" and "Lola": two striking movies presented at the Dubai International Film Festival

"Some of the most interesting features at the 2007 Dubai International Film Festival were noncompetition films. Among them were two movies, 'Heya Fawda' ('Chaos') and 'Whatever Lola Wants,' that are striking for their similarities and contrasts. The differences between the two films are obvious, not least the filmmakers themselves. With an output of over 40 films, 81-year-old Youssef Chahine, co-director of "Chaos," is an icon in his native Egypt and lauded worldwide.

"Nabil Ayouch, the 39-year-old writer and director of 'Lola,' is one of the rising stars of Moroccan cinema, whose two-feature portfolio - 1997's "Mektoub" and 2000's 'Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets' - are festival and art-house favorites.

" 'Chaos' and 'Lola' do have superficial similarities. Each has been deliberately set in Cairo and ambivalently received in the directors' countries of origin.

" 'Chaos' screened in Dubai, along with Chahine's 1958 classic film 'Bab al-Hadid' ("Cairo Station"), as part of the run-up to his receiving the Dubai festival's lifetime achievement award. The film's Egyptian cinematic release corresponded with the Cairo International Film Festival earlier in the month but 'Chaos' snubbed the event, screening his film a week later at the film festival in Marrakesh.

" 'Lola' did screen late at the Marrakech Film Festival, but it received its world premiere in Dubai (Marrakech's 'competition'), where - as the centerpiece of the festival's Arabian Nights program - it was given a gala screening. [...]

"A story of corruption and unrequited love, 'Chaos' has been feted in Cairo as Youssef Chahine's "return to Egypt" - that is, after helming a series of high-profile autobiographical films, this one once again takes Egyptian society as its subject. [...]

" 'Lola' is about as formulaic a romantic comedy as you'd find anywhere. Many of Ayouch's fans and supporters at the Dubai festival were bewildered that, after seven years in the relative anonymity of Moroccan television and film production, this gifted artist's return to the helm should produce, well, a Hollywood-style movie. [...]

Source: Daily Star (Lebanon), December 29, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lollywood: The Pakistani Hollywood

Lollywood is the name given to the Pakistani film industry, which is based in the city of Lahore. Watch hereby a Lollywood's video:

Pakistani Movies

"[...] In the 70s and early 80s, the [Pakistani movie] industry boasted eleven studios that produced over a hundred films annually. But in the face of stiff competition via the recent spread of cable television and the influx of pirated Bollywood videos, Lollywood's annual output has dropped to forty films -- produced by a single studio. ( [...]"

A look at Pakistan Film Industry

"Pakistan's film industry is often described as hapless. Dubbed 'Lollywood' for its base in the city of Lahore, it doesn't compare with the thriving art, literature, and music scene of this cultural hot spot in the heart of Punjab Province. Funds are short, and movies are painfully formulaic. In fact, if film reflects a culture, then to outside observers Pakistan's collective psyche would seem to be fixated on love songs, dancing, and fistfights where good always defeats evil: something of a simplistic society. But in a country where poverty, illiteracy, religious fundamentalism, and population growth are all serious issues, the movie image circumvents reality. Films remain strictly escapist and stick to fun, frolic, true love, and heroism. [...]"

Source: National Geographic

Monday, December 24, 2007

Il était une fois dans l'Oued: A French-Algerian Comedy on Identity

Il était une fois dans l'Oued (Once upon a time in the Oued)

Director: Djamel Bensalah
Script Writer: Djamel Bensalah and Abdelkrim Brahmi
Cast: Julien Courbey, Sid Ahmed Agoumi, David Saracino, Karina Testa, Marilou Berry, Amina Annabi, Medy Kerouani
Release Year: 2005
Genre: Comedy
Country: Algeria-France
Time: 93 min

About the Movie: "Once Upon a Time in the Oued shows the affectionately comic side of being the French-born child of tradition-bound Algerian and Moroccan immigrants to France, ca. 1988. Narrated by a scrawny, blond-haired Christian [..] [youngster] who desperately wishes he was a Muslim [Algerian] [...].
"When handsome Yacine (David Saracino) reluctantly accompanies his family to Algeria for the summer, his irrepressible pal, Johnny Leclerc (Julien Courbey), stows away [illegally] on the ferry. On board, the two lads meet serious looker Nadia (Karina Testa) and her zaftig friend Nadege (Marilou Berry).

"[...] Humor revolves around Yacine studiously avoiding an arranged marriage; his little brother being sneak-circumcised at age 9; [...] Arab-o-centric narrative also takes pains to include a thoughtful, if brief, nod to the inherent idiocy of anti-Semitism. [...]" Source: Variaty

About the Movie Director: Djamel Bensalah is a well-known French Movie Director of Algerian origins.

Beur Blanc Rouge: A movie on Second generation Immigrants in Europe

Beur Blanc Rouge

Director: Mahmoud Zemmouri
Script Writer: Mahmoud Zemmouri
Cast: Yasmine Belmadi, Karim Belkhadra, Julien Courbey. Fatima Hellilou, Abdallag Bouzida, Chafia Boudraa, Aymen Saidi, Sabrina Maache, Biyouna, Mouss, Yacine Mesbah, Annie Savarin, Kamel Bouakkaz, Rabah Loucif
Release Year: 2006
Genre: Comedy
Country: France-Algeria
Time: 1h 28min

About the Movie: "[Beur Blanc Rouge] is a comedy about young Algerians in France. The main character is handsome, unemployed Ibrahim. He is living in anticipation of the soccer match between Algeria and France. Of course, he's rooting for Algeria, but he's never been there and he doesn't speak Arabic.
"One of the funniest scenes is his insistence on singing the Algerian national anthem at the stands before the match even though he doesn't know all the words. But when Ibrahim is stopped by a policeman because he's flying three Algerian flags on his car, he shouts back that he's French.
"He also re-discovers his Frenchness when he attempts to enter Algeria with his French passport with no visa. The film deals with Ibrahim's dual identity lightly, as befits a comedy. Ibrahim is apolitical (he refuses to go the mosque where he could get free tickets to the soccer match and free jerseys donated by Zem Zem Cola), lost, and stuck without any prospects.
"To convince him to go to Algeria, his mother yells at him at some point: 'your name is Ibrahim and you have this face and you think you will get anywhere in France?' [...]" Source:

About the Movie Director: Mahmoud Zemmouri is a well-known Algerian movie Director, living in France.

Official Movie Web Site:

Read about other Movies by Mahmoud Zemmouri:
100% Arabica

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Marock: A Moroccan Movie against Obscurantism


Director: Laila Marrakchi
Script Writer: Laila Marrakchi
Cast: Morjana Alaoui, Matthieu Boujenah, Razika Simozrag, Assad Bouad, Fatim Layachi, Rachid Benhaissan, Khalid Maadur, Michael Souda
Release Year: 2005
Genre: Drama/Romance
Country: Morocco
Time: 100 min

About the Movie: "[...] The movie "Marock" - a word play on Maroc (French for Morocco ) and rock music - by young film director Leila Marrakshi. The movie brings to light the division within Moroccan society - which is in a way reflected in the wider Arab and Muslim worlds - between modernism and obscurantism, between liberals and Islamists, and between pluralism of religion and the prevention of it. The plot of 'Marock' publicly breaks many of Moroccan society's taboos. Rita, the protagonist, is a 17-year-old girl who has just finished high school. She wants to enjoy the summer with her friends, hanging around in the city of Casablanca, drinking alcohol - like many Moroccans do, as wine is available in many supermarkets - and looking for guys. She has all the dreams and frustrations of any normal teenager. [...]" Source: Daily Star (Lebanon), by Anna Mahjar-Barducci, October 17, 2006

About the Director: Born in Casablanca in 1975. She has received international accolades for her short films that focus on a wide variety of aspects of Moroccan life. In her feature film debut, ‘Marock’, she reflects upon memories of her own schooldays at the end of the 1990’s. Previously produced ‘L’Horizon perdu’ (2000), ‘Deux cents dirhams’ (2002), ‘Momo Mambo’ (2003). Source:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Egyptian actress opens café for women off-limits to unveiled and Christian females

"An Egyptian veiled actress has stirred waves of anger, especially among Egyptian Copts, after opening a posh café for women that is off-limits to unveiled and Christian females.

"Several Egyptian Internet forums and chat rooms have launched a campaign against the actress Hanan Turk, accusing her of damaging the country’s national unity and supporting claims of maltreatment to the Christian minority, according to Kuwaiti daily al-Nihar Tuesday December 18. Some blogs are calling for stand-in protests in front of the 'Girls’ Café' located at the Helioples neighborhood, east of the Egyptian Capital. Anti-hijab websites and blogs also took the chance to assert their claim 'the so-called Islamic dress code for women is a sort of business'.

"One of the blogs accused Turk outright of stirring a sectarian strife and emphasizing the gap among the poor and rich in the biggest Arab country, in a reference to the skyrocketing prices of the clothes and accessories of veiled women. Turk has campaigned for her café with an e-mail sent out to mail groups in Egypt, a copy of which was received by an Egyptian journalist with the daily Rozalyoussef. The e-mail goes: “Now there is a café where Muslim girls and women can go out to. Girls’ Café is a beautiful place where you can find food, drinks but no music or movies. It is not allowed for women without hijab to come in, so it is a safe place for 'munaqqabat' (Arabic word for completely covered women). In Girls Café, you have a chance to meet Hanan Turk! Please, do not bring Christian girls along as they are not allowed!' [...]".

Source: Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), December 18, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A new Moroccan cinema built on broken taboos

"There are still plenty of taboos in Arab societies and most of them have to do with women. [...]

"The strength of Latif Lahlou's latest film, 'Samira fi Dayaa (Samira's Garden),' lies in the manner with which the veteran director, who also co-wrote the screenplay, takes one obvious taboo and coils another one inside of it. The film breaks the first one quite easily, and acknowledges that it was already critically cracked long ago. But once those pieces fall open, viewers are left with a second taboo - a man's refusal to deal with the fact that his own sexual agency has failed him - that proves more difficult to dismantle.

" Samira's Garden screened at the Marrakesh International Film Festival on Sunday and is the only Moroccan movie being fielded in the competition. (It already scooped a critics' guild prize at this year's Films of the World Festival in Montreal, along with two acting awards at the Moroccan National Film Festival in Tangier two months ago). To hang the weight of a country's burgeoning cinema scene on a film about impotency would seem a daring move, but fortuitously Lahlou's is a daring film. [...]"

Source: Daily Star (Lebanon), December 14, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lebanese film wins top prize at Dubai Festival

Lebanese film "Taht el Qasef" ("Under Bombing") directed by Philippe Aractingi won the top prize at the fourth Dubai international film festival.

Training Morocco's Next Generation of Film-Makers

"Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco, younger brother of King Mohammad VI and president of the Marrakesh International Film Festival Foundation, snipped symbolic red and green ribbons on Sunday to mark the official inauguration of Marrakesh's new School of Visual Arts, better known as the Ecole Superieure des Arts Visuels (ESAV).

"The first proper film school of its kind in Morocco, ESAV moved out of its cramped quarters in the old city two months ago and has now taken up residence in an expansive new campus located in the northern part of Marrakesh. [...]"

Source: The Daily Star (Lebanon), December 15, 2007

Jurist decries politicized Dubai Film awards

"An Egyptian writer and jurist at the 4th Dubai International Film Festival lashed at the criteria set for giving awards to winning movies, arguing the standards were more political than artistic or cinematic.

"Dr. Miral Al-Tahawy told that she voted against movies from Egypt because of their artistic shortcomings, but was surprised to find other jurists voting for equally flawed Lebanese movies and giving them awards 'out of solidarity with Hezbollah'.'Politicizing the awards harms the festival's reputation after it managed in the last 3 years to assert its presence among Arab and International film festivals.'

"Tahawy was particularly concerned at Borhane Alaouie's 'Khalass' which was awarded Best Screenplay and Best Editing: 'Some of the jurists saw the director's patriotic background reason enough for giving the awards. They wanted to get him out of the frustration he's been suffering for years. These are not artistic criteria'. [...]

"Tahawy said the same reasons were behind naming Philippe Aractingi's 'Taht Al-Qasf' (Under the Bombs) Best Arab Film. The film takes place during the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel. The film's star Nada Abu-Farhat got Best Actress. 'There were much better films that didn't get any awards, although I'm sure they will in other festivals. The French-Algerian 'Yellow House' is a good example'. [...]

"The Dubai Film Festival ended it's 4th round Saturday December 15th, 2007 with a Lebanese sweep. Among the Arab movies that participated in the competition were the Moroccan 'Al-Kouloub Al-Mohtareqa' (Burnt Hearts), the Tunisian 'Akher Film' (The Last Movie), the Syrian 'Kharej Al-Taghteya' (Out of Coverage), and the Egyptian 'Shaqet Masr El-Gedida' (The Heliopolis Flat) and 'Alwan El-Sama El-Sabaa' (Colors of the Seven Heavens)."

Official Dubai Film Festival Web Site:

Source: Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), December 17, 2007

"The white hawk" project put in the shelves

"This year's celebration of El Emir Abdelkader's allegiance paid to him by the Algerian people was intended to mark the kick off of the film dedicated to him put in the shelves for so many years.

"The minister of culture Ms Khalida Toumi has, officially announced the resuming of this old artistic project in a press conference after having called upon M. Boualem Bessayeh to write the script of this giant project pending a director and a producer to start the shooting. But this long awaited event doesn't seem to materialize so far. Asked about the project, well informed sources from the ministry of culture said that this one counts among the major projects of the Algerian president, and nobody knows about the details except the minister herself.

"For his part, the head of the film industry department at the ministry M. Karim Ait Meziane denied in previous declarations that the movie would be part of the event 'Algiers, capital of Arab culture2007', while unnamed sources revealed that the project was topped a priority of the event. The overall amount of money allotted by the president Bouteflika was estimated at around USD 5 million. [...]"

Source: Echorouk (Algeria), December 15, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Arab film replaces Bin Laden with Bellydancing"

"No bombs. No bloodshed. No bin Laden. Belly dancing is the theme Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch says can best communicate the Arab world to the West and reconcile cultural differences. 'Whatever Lola Wants,' Ayouch's story of an American woman who encounters Arab life through belly dancing lessons, premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival this week, impressing many critics. [...]

" 'It's so much better to give the image of the Arab world through belly dancing than Osama bin Laden... it's all a question of misunderstanding and it's not because we are different, we can't talk or understand each other,' he [Nabil Ayouch] said. Ayouch hopes Lola will make it in Hollywood. [...] 'Most of the movies I have seen in America about the Arab world are always talking about the same matters -- terrorism, bombings, arms, fighting -- but what Lola carries back with her to New York is belly dancing,' he said. [...]"

Marrakesh film festival captivates crowds with quality cinema

"[...] The Marrakesh International Film Festival, which opened with an opulent ceremony at the Palais des Congres Friday night, comes too late in the year to host an onslaught of world premieres. It is too young - and geographically too far removed from the power centers that fuel the global movie business - to be a major player like Cannes.

"In terms of regional standing, it doesn't have the institutional status of Cairo, Damascus, Tangier or Carthage. It doesn't have the money to make a splash the size of the new film festivals in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. But it does have the chance to forge a reputation as a platform for discovery and a forum for film lovers. Judging from the primary lineup of more than 100 films and the secondary schedule of master classes and other related events, the festival in Marrakesh is taking full advantage of that opportunity.

"Of course, the opening reception on Friday night did radiate a considerable amount of celebrity heat. Martin Scorsese awarded a Golden Star statuette to Leonardo Di Caprio, who has been in Morocco for the past three months shooting "Body of Lies," Ridley Scott's forthcoming feature about the war in Iraq, in which the Hollywood heartthrob stars alongside Russell Crowe. [...]

"But otherwise, the festival seems concerned with content and craft over glitz and glamour. It is coursing through key moments of beauty, intrigue and intensity, much like the pacing of vivid scenes in a memorable film. One such moment was Sunday night's open-air screening of Ahmed al-Maanouni's "Transes" on Jemaa al-Fna, Marrakesh's enormous, jostling public square located at the mouth of the old city's labyrinthine souk.

" "Transes," titled "Al-Hal" in Arabic and "Trances" in English, is a 1981 documentary about Nass al-Ghiwane, a group of five musicians from the Hay al-Mohammadi neighborhood of Casablanca that formed in the 1960s and became legendary in the 1970s for their mesmerizing blend of Sufi chants, Gnawa beats, Aita intonations and Melhoun poetry. Maanouni's film catches up with Nass al-Ghiwane just after the death of one the group's founding members, Boujemaa Hagour, in 1974. Much more than a concert film, "Transes" pieces together a collage of wild performances, candid interviews, roaming street shots and deeply historical archival footage, all of which digs into the roots of the music. [...]"

The Marrakesh International Film Festival continues through December 15. For more information, please call +212 24 324 493 or check out

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Delice Paloma: Algerian film tackles prostitution, homosexuality

"A new government-funded movie about prostitution and homosexuality, in which a well-known actress takes on the role of a shrewd madam, has stirred controversy in the conservative Algerian society. Algerian movie star Biyouna plays a whore called Madame Aldjeria (Algeria) in the movie, Delice Paloma. Paloma is the name of one of the prostitutes in the network, who Aldjeria uses to lure men. She is dubbed 'delice' (sweet).

"In one of the scenes, Biyouna - known for her benign roles in comedies - appears wearing a dress with the colors of the Algerian flag. Critics accuse her of defaming Algeria. The Algerian government reportedly paid 10 million dinars (almost 150,000 U.S. dollars) to fund the film. But Abdel-Karim Omezian, a spokesman for the Film Division at the Ministry of Culture, told that the ministry never gave a permit to Biyouna or director Nadir Moknèche [he is known as the Algerian Almodovar]. [...]

"In a phone interview from Beirut, Biyouna defended the role, telling that the movie reflects reality in Algerian society: 'Lots of girls are forced into prostitution. It's time we break taboos.' Biyouna, known as a comedian who plays 'decent' roles, tried to commit suicide in 1997. She attributed that to poverty and lack of work. [...]"

Source: Al Arabiya (Dubai-based, Saudi-owned), December 9, 2007

December 11, 2007: Terrorist Attack in Algeria

See the following movie on Terrorism in Algeria:


Bab El Oued City:


Friday, December 7, 2007

Algerian Movie on Modernity and Tradition

Viva Laldjérie
Director: Nadir Moknèche
Script Writer: Nadir Moknèche
Cast: Lubna Azabal, Biyouna, Nadia Kaci, Jalil Naciri
Release year: 2004
Genre: Drama
Country: Algeria
Time: 117 Minutes

About the movie: "Viva Laldjérie explores the lives of three women in Algiers as they manage to get by despite their daily difficulties. Twenty seven-year-old Goucem works at a local photo shop and lives with her mother Sandjak in a low-rent residential hotel. She is torn between tradition and modernity, between her mother’s desire for her to find a husband and her aspiration to live like a modern young woman. She dates a married doctor and hopes that he will leave his wife, but her dreams are shattered when she discovers that she is not his only mistress. Sandjak, formerly an exotic dancer, hides from fundamentalists who are set on killing her. When she hears that an old cabaret is being closed to make room for a new mosque, she tries to buy it. In the process, she is encouraged to perform again. Fifi, a prostitute who lives next door to Sandjak and Goucem, is usually very busy entertaining men in her room, including influential ones who should not be there. Viva Laldjérie highlights the tensions between modern and traditional society in a country emerging from civil war and dominated by men." Source:

About the Director: Viva Laldjérie is the second film by Nadir Moknèche. His first film, The Harem of Madame Osmane, opened in theatres to critical acclaim in France in 2000 after screening at numerous international festivals. After growing up in Algiers, Nadir studied in France, and then at New York's New School for Social Research, where he made two shorts, Jardin and the award-winning Hanifa. Source:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Account on You Tube was closed due to graphic images on tortures in Egypt

"The video-sharing Web site YouTube has restored the account of a prominent Egyptian anti-torture activist, and said on Monday he may repost graphic images of purported rights abuses if he puts them in proper context.
"Wael Abbas said last week that YouTube had suspended his account and that around 100 images he had posted, including clips of police brutality, purported voting irregularities and anti-government demonstrations were no longer accessible. [...]

" 'Our general policy against graphic violence led to the removal of videos documenting alleged human rights abuses because the context was not apparent,' the statement [in You Tube] said. 'Having reviewed the case, we have restored the account of Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas. And if he chooses to upload the video again with sufficient context so that users can understand his important message, we will of course leave it on the site.'
"The statement did not clarify what would constitute sufficient context.
"Rights activists had complained that by shutting down Abbas's account, YouTube was closing a significant portal for information on rights abuses in Egypt just as Cairo was escalating a crackdown on opposition and independent media."
Source: Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), December 3, 2007

" Is You Tube feeding the regional crackdown on cyber-activists?"

" Author: Esra'a (Bahrain) - December 3, 2007

"The internet has been a prominent tool for human rights activists to convey and receive controversial information. Many interactive websites allow activists to network, help, and empower each other.

"One of such sites is YouTube, a video-sharing network where users can upload and host videos. YouTube continues to serve as a vital source for videos that reveal various human rights abuses such as police brutality in restricted countries like Egypt and Iran. [...]
"Egyptian blogger and anti-torture activist Wael Abbas is one of several Egyptians who take advantage of the many benefits of sites like YouTube to further their struggle for justice in their country. Abbas’ videos contained unpleasant and alarming scenes of police brutality in Egypt, many of which were revealed for the very first time. [...]

"This, one would think, is a positive outcome of technology. For once, rampant regional censorship couldn’t stop us from accessing videos that showed the true nature of certain governments and what they were actively trying to hide from the public.
"YouTube apparently holds a different viewpoint.

"Last week, its staff suspended Abbas’ YouTube account for several days, causing the deletion of dozens of videos that reveal torture taking place in Egyptian prisons.

"To YouTube’s credit, Abbas’ account was restored only days after its suspension, likely due to public concerns and pressure, but with all of the videos removed.

"Videos of Abbas’ media appearances concerning his cyber-activism were also deleted, even though these videos contained absolutely no violence or graphic footage that could have been in violation of the website’s policy and legal use.

"Why, then, couldn’t YouTube only remove the videos in question?

"Why did YouTube terminate Abbas’ account entirely, making all of his videos inaccessible? [...]"

You Tube removes videos by Egyptian Activists on regime torture victims

"A storm is brewing in the Egyptian blogosphere after video hosting site YouTube removed several videos featuring policemen torturing victims from their site.

" 'This is by far the biggest blow to the anti-torture movement in Egypt,' writes Wael Abbas, an award winning blogger, whose videos capturing the torture of victims at the hands of police were removed from YouTube."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Egyptian Movies at the Cairo Film Festival

*Ahlam Haqiqiya (Real Dreams) Horror film starring Hanan Turk and Khaled Saleh.

*Asad we Arba' Otat (A Lion and Four Cats) Comedy starring Hani Ramzi.

*Al-Awala Felgharam (Love Song) Romantic comedy starring Hani Salama and Menna Shalabi, directed by Mohamed Ali.

*Esabet Al-Doktor Omar (Dr Omar's gang) starring Mustafa Amar and Yasmine Abdel-Aziz.

*Heya Fawda (No Rules?) Drama starring Khaled Saleh, Menna Shalabi, directed by Youssef Shahin, Khaled Youssef.

*Al-Hobb Kida (Such is love) Comedy starring Hamada Helal.

*Kida Reda! (Fair Enough!) Comedy starring Ahmed Helmi and Menna Shalabi.

*Al Magic Group of rising stars.

*Al-Shayatin (The Devils) Drama starring Sherif Munir.

Member of the Dutch Parliament Plans a Provocative Film about Islam

"A member of the Dutch Parliament, and head of the small hard-right 'Party for Freedom' (PvV), Geert Wilders, is working on a television film on the Qur'an. This is the second step for Wilders in his fight against what he considers 'the danger of Islam.'

"Wilders recently called for the banning of what he called the 'fascist Qur'an,' comparing it to Hitler's manifesto 'Mein Kampf.'

"Radio Netherlands Worldwide quotes him as saying that his film may be compared to the film 'Submission' that was produced by Theo van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali in 2004.

"According to the newspaper 'De Telegraaf,' Wilders did not want to give further details about the new film at this time. It was able to say, however, that that Wilders said that he is negotiating with a television channel, but might, if necessary, show it in the slot allocated to his political party on public television, or on the internet.

"In its initial reaction the Dutch government expressed nervousness over Wilders's plans, and the ministries of the Interior and Justice have alerted him of the risks of his planned film. The official spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said that the Ministry has taken preemptive measures in anticipation of broad international controversy over the film, while affirming that Wilders is free to express his opinion. [...]"

Source:, December 1, 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Film Festival in the region during the week

"[...] The Cairo International Film Festival is up and running and on a mission to reclaim its status as the quintessential showcase for Arab cinema. The fourth Dubai International Film Festival and the seventh Marrakesh International Film Festival are both opening next week. [...]"
Source: Daily Star (Lebanon), December 1, 2007

Veiled presenters a ‘no-show’ on Moroccan TV

"The firing of three veiled presenters from Moroccan radio station Casa FM has highlighted the issue of an implicit ban being slapped on veiled women working in different media outlets in the Arab country.

"Veiled TV presenter Samia Al-Maghrawy said her seniors started treating her differently when she donned the veil: 'They seemed to be embarrassed of me and stopped assigning me out-of-country work. To save my face and avoid troubles with the administration, I decided to work in the editorial board so that I would not have to be on screen.'

"Media woman Wafaa Al-Hamry accused the government of applying double standards in the way it deals with this issue: 'There is no law banning a veiled woman from having an on-screen job, but when she applies, and even though she might have all the qualifications, she doesn't get the job,' she told

"All veiled women who work in the media, Al-Hamry adds, know that they will only be allowed to work as editors or directors, 'anything behind the screen'. Media expert Yehia al-Yehiawy is surprised at the ban since the media is supposed to enjoy freedom and diversity. In an interview with, Yehiawy said that most Moroccan public channels want to convey their own ideologies that, in turn, will have an effect on the audience. A veiled presenter might not serve this strategy. [...]

"Writer Aziz Bakoush told that the veil phenomenon is new to Moroccan media: 'It is mainly related to Islamizing politics or political Islam.' 'Some Arab countries -- and Morocco is one of them -- deal with the veil as a sign of extremism,' he adds. 'The ban solution is very Arab, and the problem is that there are no clear laws that define the boundaries. [...]"

Source: Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-owned), November 30, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cairo International Film Festival

"The 31st Cairo International Film Festival opend the 27th of November amid controversy, seeking to retake its place as the Arab world's international cinematic meeting point after years in the wilderness.

"Competing with Morocco's Marakesh film festival -- widely seen as more creative -- and that of Dubai -- more wealthy -- the CIFF will this year highlight British films, with 15 of them being screened.

"The opener is 'Death at a Funeral,' a black comedy by British director Frank Oz, creator of the Muppet Show, described as 'putting the F U in funeral' which has caused controversy because one of its characters is a gay priest.

"Egypt's outspoken Al-Badil daily attacked "so-called liberal newspapers who only see evil in everything (and) who have launched a pre-emptive attack on the festival's choice of 'Death at a Funeral'.

" 'As usual cinema pays the price of being stuck between the Islamists on the street and a regime that is bankrupt of civilisation,' Al-Badil said in an editorial on Tuesday, slamming Egyptian society's 'Achilles heel of religion.' [...]"

Source: AFP, November 27, 2007

Bloggers want to expose torture in Egypt through videos

Egyptian bloggers, often at the forefront of exposing human rights abuses, are planning an online festival of torture videos to run alongside the 31st Cairo Film Festival, from 27 November to 7 December.

"The parallel festival is the brainchild of a blogger named Walid, The Egyptian Mail said, and will feature 'controversial acts of torture allegedly committed by the security authorities.'
"Prizes, including a 'Golden Whip,' will be awarded to the 'best' entrants.

"Egypt's blogosphere has exposed numerous incidents of police torture, including that of minibus driver Imad al-Kabir, who was shown being sodomized with a stick in a widely distributed video shot on a mobile phone. Rights groups say torture is widespread in Egyptian jails, while the Interior Ministry says torturers are punished."

Source: AFP, November 24, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Palestinian Movie on Honour Killings

"A new documentary called Maria's Grotto which premiered in Ramallah on Friday explores the issue of honor killings through the heart-breaking stories of four Palestinian women.

"Directed by Palestinian director Buthina Canaan Khoury, the 53-minute documentary is the result of two years of groundwork and filming, Reuters News Agency reported. The film begins in Maria's Grotto, the film's namesake, which is said to be the burial place of a girl called Maria, who lived in a village 20 kilometers east of Ramallah in the 1930s.

"According to a village elder, Maria's family suspected that she had an illicit affair. After they killed her in the Grotto, they examined her and found out she was virgin. 'Maria was innocent,' the old lady recounts.

"The second story is the more recent tragedy of Hayam, a 35-year-old woman who got pregnant with a Christian man from a neighboring village. When her family discovered her pregnancy in her eighth month, they forced her to take poison.

"Khoury tried in vain to get the girl's family to speak on film. But local police officers said they had to detain the Hayam's boyfriend to protect him after Hayam's family reportedly burnt down houses and a factory belonging to the man's family. Among the people interviewed, is an old woman who supports honor killing: 'Disgrace is not a simple thing. Honor is the next precious value after land,' she said.

"The movie also tells the story of a girl who miraculously survived after being stabbed seven times by her brother: 'He didn't ask me anything…he just tried to kill me,' she recalled. The brother, whose face was blurred on screen like his sister's, said he regretted his crime, but explained the social pressure he faced: 'I was devastated by people's words and looks. Everybody was asking, 'Why don't you kill her? Aren't you a man?' I wished she could have escaped while I was trying to kill her.' Although the brother turned himself in, three quarters of the police officers lauded his act as 'honorable,' the film shows.

"The Palestinian Minister of Women's Affairs Khouloud Daibes said in a press conference that honor killings are on the rise in Palestinian territories. Human rights groups said 20 to 50 women have been killed for honor reasons since the beginning of 2007 and that culprits usually get away with light sentences. [...]"

Source: Al Arabiya ( Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), November 25, 2007

Yemenis shocked by public porn display

"Porn scenes shown by mistake on a public commercial screen in downtown Sanaa has caused a stir in Yemeni society and prompted parliament to launch an official investigation, press reports said Monday.

"On Sunday, hundreds of Yemenis watched in disbelief as porn scenes played in a busy square in the center of the capital. It took a while for the company in charge to set things right, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.

"After receiving scores of phone calls from angry citizens, the police contacted the screen owner, Yemeni Economic Corporation, which, in turn, stopped the show and said it was the result of a technical glitch. [...]"

Source: AlArabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), November 26, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Egyptian comedian back on "indecency" blacklist

"An Islamist electronic movement placed Egyptian superstar actor Adel Emam on a blacklist of people who promote 'indecency and nudity,' citing his steadfast opposition to political Islam.

"A spokesman for Hamasna (Our Enthusiasm), which also calls itself 'The Electronic Resistance Movement,' said that Emam, 67, was back on its blacklist one year after he was removed, as a result of his family ties to a Muslim Brotherhood leader.

"The daughter of Emam – one of the most popular comedians in Egypt and the Arab world – recently married the son of prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader Nabil Moqbel.

"The marriage stirred controversy in Egyptian society because Emam, a master of political satire who often targets religious conservatives in his movies, is known for his stance against Islamists.

"One of his 100-plus movies -- Al-Erhab we Al-Kabab (Terrorism and The Kebab) from 1993 – takes direct aim at Islamist groups and terrorists.

"Hamasna's leader, Mohamed Al-Sayed, said many expected the actor's attitude to change after the marriage: 'We were hoping he would stop mocking religious symbols in his works and start using his capabilities as an actor in works that aim to serve society.' [...]

"What made things worse was Emam's visit to Coptic Pope Shenouda III to seek permission to play a priest in his new movie.

"'We didn't see him consulting Al-Azhar before making all those movies that mocked Islam,' Al-Sayed said.

"The movement has also created a "white list" of artists it deems as "respectable". It includes Saudi singer Mohamed Abdou, Egyptian singer Amr Diab, and veiled Egyptian actresses Hanan Turk and Hala Shiha. "

Source: Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), November 23, 2007

Tecom authority introduces Gulf Film Festival and competition

The Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (TECOM) today announced a new initiative, the Gulf Film Festival (GFF), in association with Dubai Studio City. The GFF will be dedicated to the best in cinema from the Gulf countries (the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kingdom of Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Republic of Iraq and Republic of Yemen) along with select international films. The first annual edition of the festival will run from April 9 to 15, 2008.

Source: Maktoob (UAE), November 12, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Week of the Indian Film kicked off in Tunis

The National Cultural Committee organized in collaboration with the embassy of India in Tunisia, the week of the Indian film, which was held from the 12th to the 18th of November at the House of Culture Ibn Rachiq in the capital, Tunis.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Magazine's Special Issue Celebrates Saudi Cinema

"In a pioneering move, the quarterly Saudi cultural magazine, ‘Qawafil’ is celebrating Saudi film-making with an entire issue dedicated to the fledgling industry, which will also include a free DVD featuring the best of Saudi film. [...]

"In the issue, a number of articles on cinema and a filmography of Saudi films starting with 1976's Abdullah al Mohsin’s docufilm entitled ‘Assassination of a City’ [Ightiyal Medina] and ending with films released over the past summer.

"Saudi film critic Khalid Rabia al Sayed talks about the blossoming Saudi film industry, and also reviewed a number of movies particularly those that were featured in the last Jeddah Festival of Visual Art.

"In another article, Abdullah al Eyaf, who won the Special Jury Award for his film ‘A Frame’ [Idar], talked about his experience regarding directing especially during his first docufilm ‘Cinema 500km’.

"The issue also carries an interview with female Saudi film director Hayfaa al Mansour who was, as usual, frank in expressing her opinions. She believed that her experiences as well as those of Saudi cinema were still weak as there is the lack of a cinema culture and origin. She also embraced Western acceptance of her work saying, 'They (some intellectuals) are now granting awards for movies that look at the humanitarian crimes taking place in Iraq and elsewhere. In my opinion, to perceive the West as an enemy is overloaded with inferiority complexes and self-doubt.'

"In another interview, young Saudis expressed their aspirations towards this new phenomenon and their hopes in developing and establishing a film industry [in Saudi] in the future.

"The free DVD that accompanied the issue included the following films: ‘Difficult Way’ [Tariq Saaba] by Samir Aref, ‘Rebellion’ [Tammarrad] by Abdul Aziz al Najam, ‘Girl of Heaven’ [Tiflat al Samaa] by Ali al Amir, ‘Just a Day’ [Mujarid Yowm] by Nawaf Muhanna and ‘Democracy’ by Meshal al Anzi.

"In 2006, Saudi cinema was brought to the fore when two feature films, namely ‘Dhilal al Samt’ [Shadow of Silence] and ‘Keif al Haal’ [How are you?] were released, both raising controversy amongst film critics and the public.

"Earlier this year, the first ever Saudi Arabia horror film ‘The Forgotten Village’ [Qariyat al Mansiya] was released in Egypt."
Source: Asharq Al Awsat (Saudi Arabia, based in London), November 19, 2007

Terror decade in Algeria thwarted movie creation

The Algerian movie critic and head of Geneva Arab Film Festival, Belghoul Benaouda was present at "Taghit d'or" Film Festival along with several movie critics and experts who have been invited to take part to this important cultural event. As one of numerous Algerian authors and artists living overseas, M Benaouda gave a brief interview to "Echorouk" reporter in which he talked thoroughly about today's movie industry.

Q: What is, in your opinion, asked from the new generation of movie lovers?

A: The black decade stopped the young creator's impetus in this field, but now, the emerging talents have to think anew and develop new ideas in the audiovisual field. We are living a new era controlled by the image. Europe, for instance is using picture as a weapon in cinema and TV to control the masses, the time has come for the gifted new generation to set aside the traditional vision of movie- making, they have to adapt their art to the modern standards, by and large, portray their living conditions realistically.
Source: Echorouk (Algeria), November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

European Film Festival in Morocco

Since Thursday, the Moroccan northern city of Tangier is vibrating at the pace of European films as part of the 17 th film week ending on November 25 following the screening in five Moroccan cities of prize-winning films or films screened in highly renown film festivals.

Algerian short film festival the “Taghit d’or"

Algeria launched its first short film festival the “Taghit d’or”from 11-17 November. Some 30 movie makers as well as several guests pertaining to the world of culture and media took part to the first cultural event of its kind in Algeria.

Several movie screenings were slated for this occasion in various parts of the town, in addition to the organization of seminars aiming at promoting local artifacts. The “ Taghit d’or” short film festival stems from the other major Algerian film festival, “the Fenec d’or” which aims at boosting young gifted artists and give them the opportunity to shed light on their creations as well as exchanging their experiences in this field. The event coincided with the opening of the tourist season in this desert region.

Source: Echourouk (Algeria), November 5, 2007

Indian movies to be special attraction in 4th Dubai Film Festival

The fourth edition of Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), running from December 9 to 16, starts with the unveiling of 'A Celebration of Indian Cinema', a separate segment for the first time.

"This year, DIFF has created a separate programme for Indian cinema as it is a country with a vast supply of thriving and creative regional films. Its geographic size is an indication of the diversity of the films it produces year round," Festival Artistic Director Masoud Amralla Al Ali said.

Dubai International Film Festival

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) announced the conclusion of its successful ‘OneMinutesJr’ video production workshop for youth in Mumbai, with plans for future sessions in Dubai and Cairo, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Participants at the 5-day workshops received guidance in camera skills, shot and sound choices, story development and basic editing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Anti-Iranian government movie applauded in Tunisia

The animated movie Persepolis based on the graphic novel Persepolis by Iranian author and cartoonist Marjane Satrapi was appluaded by Tunisians during the 14th European Cinema Festival.
Persepolis is the story of Marjane Satrapi's "own experiences as a rebellious young girl growing up in 1970s and 1980s Iran before being sent off 'into safety' in Europe. In her life, the growing pains of a free-spirited young girl happen to occur alongside the fall of the Shah’s rule and the Islamic Revolution. With its perfect blend of the personal and the political, Persepolis tells the parallel stories of a girl and a country trying to grow up and find out what’s right for them, though both are often taken hostage by foreign impulses".
Sources: La Presse (Tunisia), November 13, 2007

Cinema ban sparks debate in Saudi Council

"The Saudi Shura (Consultative) Council briefly debated the absence of movie theaters in the kingdom, with some members saying cinemas are inappropriate in the land of the Holy Shrines and others calling for a religiously acceptable 'way out'.

"The debate started when the Council's Culture and Media Committee presented a draft law on a memorandum of understanding between the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information and the Russian Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, the Saudi edition of Al-Hayat reported on Tuesday.

"Council Member Azeb Al-Mesbel argued that the spiritual nature of the country that hosts the two Holy Shrines (in Mecca and Medina) should be taken into consideration when dealing with matters of art and culture.Whereas Member Ahmed al-Turki stressed the necessity to benefit from Russia's experience in cinema arts. He called on religious scholars to find a way to allow movie theaters without contradicting the principles of Islam. [...]

"Regular theatres are not allowed in Saudi Arabia because movies are considered incompatible with the teachings of Islam, as they promote the mingling of sexes and show examples of immoral behavior."

Source: Al Arabiya (Saudi-owned, Dubai-based), November 13, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Post Modern Arts Festival in Tunis

The Medina of Tunis hosted the first edition of the Post Modern Arts Festival, dubbed "Dream City", which took place on November 8, 9 and 10.

"Dream City" is an ambitious project devoted to Post Modern artistic creations, thus allowing young Tunisian artists to present works reflecting on the city of Tunis.

Thus, 26 multidisciplinary artists took part to this event which features several artistic fields such as plastic arts, choreography, music and video projections.


Tunisia Experimantal Cinema Festival

The first meeting on experimental cinema has taken place in Sousse from 2nd to 7th November on the initiative of Youssef Bahri, artistic director in charge of the conference on experimentation in the arts, of Mohamed El Ameur, cultural delegate to general coordination within the regional commissary of the Lofti Ben Salah township.

The Festival has shown movies on chaos in the world and on alienation of young generations.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tunis Celebrates European Cinema

"The 14th edition of the Days of the European Cinema in Tunis will be held this year from the 8th to the 22nd of November in several places in the Tunisian capital.

"Organized by the delegation of the European Commission and the embassies of the Member States of the EU in Tunisia, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Culture and the Safeguard of the Tunisian Heritage, the Days of the European Cinema in Tunis have become an important rendezvous attended by a high number of film enthusiasts in the Maghreb.

"The edition 2007 was described as “Euro Tunisian” because of the great number of Tunisian films taking part in the festival to be projected along with European movies. [...]"

Source: Al Arab online

"Billionaire fights Egyptian conservatism with TV"

"Egyptian billionaire and telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris plans to launch new television channels to counter what he describes as increasing social and inreligious conservatism the Arab Muslim country. Sawiris, a Coptic Christian with a $10 billion fortune according to Forbes magazine, said he would launch a movie channel early in 2008 followed by an all-news station. He already owns OTV, a 24-hour entertainment channel.

"Speaking at a dinner for journalists late on Monday, Sawiris said he was disturbed by the rising number of women wearing the Islamic headscarf. 'I am not against the headscarf because then I would be against personal freedoms,' he said. 'But when I walk in the street now I feel like I am in Iran... I feel like a stranger.' [...]

"The Egyptian billionaire, who owns a stake in Egypt's popular daily newspaper Al Masry Al Youm, launched a scathing attack on the Brotherhood, which insists that non-Muslims and women are ineligible to run for the country's presidency. 'To hell with them,' he said. 'Not a single Christian is waiting for their permission. God is just. God does not discriminate between people.'

"Sawiris, chairman of Orascom Telecom, the fourth largest Arab mobile phone operator by market value, is not known to have any political ambitions and has rarely expressed his political opinions in public. Independent media have challenged the dominance of state-run Egyptian press and television, which for decades has dictated what the public could read, watch or listen to. Privately-owned newspapers have pushed the boundaries in political reporting, attacking President Hosni Mubarak and his family. Private television, however, does not enjoy the same liberties."

Source: Reuters, November 7, 2007

On Air the documentary on Saudi King Abdullah

On November 1st, Al Arabiya launched the five part documentary " Abdullah", the fist production of its kind.

For more informations see the following post:

A movie on Palestinians escaping from Iraq

The dupes (1972, Al Makhdu'un)

Director: Tewifik Saleh
Script Writer: Ghassan Kanafani, Tewfik Saleh
Cast: Mohamed Khei-Halouani, Abderrahman Alray, Bassan Lofti, Abou Ghazala, Saleh Kholoki, Thanaa Debsi
Genre: Drama
Release Year: 1972
Country: Syria
Time: 107 min

Abou the movie: Three Palestinian men from three different generations attempt to escape their impoverished lives in Iraq by crossing the desert to Kuwait, where the promise of work and freedom awaits them. A truck driver agrees to smuggle them across the border in this film about dispossession, despair and scraps of hope. Source:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Algeria launches its first short film festival

Algeria will launch its first short film festival the “Taghit d’or”on Monday

Preparations for the first edition of the short film festival « Taghit d’or » (Golden Taghit) due to take place in the Bechar (southern Algeria) from 11-17 November are well underway according to the organizers.
Some 30 movie makers as well as several guests pertaining to the world of culture and media will take part to the first cultural event of its kind in Algeria, the same source added. Several movie screenings are slated for this occasion in various parts of the town, in addition to the organization of seminars aiming at promoting local artifacts.
The “ Taghit d’or” short film festival stems from the other major Algerian film festival, “the Fenec d’or” which aims at boosting young gifted artists and give them the opportunity to shed light on their creations as well as exchanging their experiences in this field. The event will coincide with the opening of the tourist season in this desert region, which will lift people’s spirit and push them to shift their interest in this event.

Source: Echorouk (Algeria), November 5, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Movie on the Algerian War of Independence

Living in Paradise (1998, Al Aish Fil Jannah)

Director: Bourlem Guerdjou (Algeria)
Script Writer: Boulem Guerdjou, Olivier Lorelle, Olivier Douy
Cast: Roschdy Zem, Fadila Belkebla, Omar Bekhaled, Farida Rahouadj, Hiam Abbass
Release Year: 1998
Genre: Social
Country: France/Norway/Belgium
Time: 105 min

About the Movie: Set in France in 1961-1962, during the Algerian War, Living In Paradise is the story of Lakhdar (Roschdy Zem), an immigrant construction worker living in the Nanterre shantytown of France.

Unhappy living alone in France, he brings his wife and children from Southern Algeria to be with him, but the family struggles to make ends meet. In this clip Hiam Abbas plays an Algerian nationalist struggling to stir her compatriots into action.

Here she succeeds, gathering many of the residents of the shantytown to participate in a demonstration in support of Algerian independence and the National Liberation Front (FLN). Lakhdar is reluctant to participate, but he eventually goes along and is beaten when French riot police try to break up the demonstration by force. Though fictional, the film underlies the important role played by the large immigrant community in France during the independence movement, as well as the role of women in the movement. Source:

About the Director: Bourlem Guerdjou studied at the Florent drama school in 1982-­1983, and won a directing award from the Fondation de la Vocation. He has also acted in various films, plays and made-for-TV movies. He directed three short films, including the award-winning "Ring" (1996), plus two documentaries. "Living in Paradise" is his first feature film. Source:

1st of November: Anniversary of the Start of the Algerian Revolution against Colonialism in 1954

Chronicle of the Years of Embers (1975, Waqai Sanawat Al-Djamr)
Winner of Palme d’Or – Cannes 1975

Director: Mohamed Lakhdar-Hamina (Algeria)
Script Writer: Rachid Boujedra, Tewfik Fares and others
Cast: Yorgo Voyagis, Mohammed, Lakhdar-Hamina, Leila Shenna, Cheikh Nourredine, François Maistre
Release Date: 26 November 1975 (France)
Genre: Drama
Country: Algeria
Time: 175 min

About the Movie: Chronicle of the Year of Embers portrays Algeria's struggle for Independence from French colonial rule. The story follows a peasant's migration from his drought-stricken village to his eventual participation with the Algerian resistance movement, just prior to the outbreak of the Algerian War of Independence. Source:

About the Director: Mohamed Lakhdar-Hamina is an Algerian director and actor.

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Movie on Music as a tool against bigotry and violence

100% Arabica (1997)

Director: Mahmoud Zemmouri (Algeria)
Script Writer: Marie Laurence Attias, Mahmoud Zemmouri
Cast: Cheb Khaled, Cheb Mami
Release Date: 5 November 1997 (France)
Genre: Musical Comedy
Country: France/Belgium/Switzerland
Time: 85 min

About the Movie: "In this light-hearted musical comedy with a message, a North African pop group called Rap Oriental uses music to triumph over the bigotry and violence in their housing project on the outskirts of Paris. The band and their devoted fans are pitted against religiously conservative elders who want to stop the music. The film features Khaled and Cheb Mami, two real-life stars of Rai music - a combination of North African sounds and western-style rap. The pair offers a message with a beat as they rock, groove, and ultimately soothe their 'hood with their unique sound." Source: African Diaspora Fil Festival

About the Director:
Mahmoud Zemmouri is a well-known Algerian movie Director, living in France.

A Tunisian Movie on poverty and violence

Tender is the worlf (2006, Ors El Dhab)

Jilani Saadi
Script Writer: Jilani Saadi
Cast: Abdelmoumen Chouiette, Anissa Daoud, Atef Ben Hessin, Habib Ben Mbarek, Mohamed Graya
Release Year: 2006
Genre: Drama
Country: Tunisia
Time: 83 min

About the Movie:
"[...] Tender Is the Wolf is a sensitive but bleak drama which shows the tumultuous consequences of a crime committed by the group of outcasts a Tunisian man hangs out with. Unemployed and directionless, the gentle, lumbering Stoufa (Mohamed Hassine Graya) meets up with his three pals on a corner one cold winter night in Tunis to drink and hang out. It is there that they encounter Salousa, a willful, talkative young prostitute they know. Conversation leads to confrontation, and the friends impulsively gang rape the woman as she hopelessly tries to stop the assault. The next day the woman enlists her thuggish brother to track down her attackers and deal with them. Stoufa, though not having participated, is nonetheless violently beaten. Yet, with something still troubling him, he meets with the woman and a tentative, unusual relationship develops between them. This dark, unsettling urban drama [...] explore a cold urban world of poverty and violence. Source:

About the Director:
Jilani Saadi was born in Bizerte, Tunisia in 1962. After film studies in Paris, he made his first short film in 1994 and then a medium length film, Café-Hôtel de l’Avenir, in 1997, and the feature films Khorma, le Crieur de Nouvelles in 2003 and Ors El Dhib in 2006.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A New Moroccan Movie on Relations between Muslims and Jews

Adieu Mères (Goodbye Mothers): A movie by Mohamed Ismail

Movie's Official Web Site:

"Mohamed Ismail’s Goodbye Mothers, dares to depict the peaceful co-existence in 1960s Casablanca of two families – one Muslim and one Jewish – at a time historically when many Jews were faced with the dilemma of whether or not to emigrate to Israel.

"Two years ago in Morocco, writer-director Laila Marrakchi’s romance Marock, about a Jewish man’s love affair with a Muslim woman [...] , caused a great deal of controversy among critics and the public, [...]. Maya Film, producers of Goodbye Mothers, expect the same kind of reaction to their film, which, following its festival premiere, is slated to hit movie theaters in Tangiers and other parts of the country by the end of the year.

"Ismail is perhaps best known for his 2002 film Et Après? which featured Victoria Abril and depicted life in Morocco through the eyes of a young male chauvinist, happy to avail himself of European female company but weary of his sister venturing out of the house. [...]

"The film festivals launched in Casablanca, as well as those of Tangiers and Marrakesh, has played a critical role in buttressing indigenous cinema to the next level. And with artistic expression and expansion comes the inevitable spot fires of controversy."

Libya: Colonel Qaddafi to fund movie on Italian colonialism

"A movie about the Italian occupation of Libya from 1911 to 1943 is being made by Syrian filmmaker Najdat Anzour with the help of Libya's president Muammar Qaddafi, who will finance the film and contribute to the screenplay.

"'Dhulm: Years of Torment' will feature for the first time first-hand accounts by international and local witnesses of the Italian colonial period. [...]"

Source: Adnkronos

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

9th Edition of the Moroccan National Fim Festival in Tangier

The 9th Edition of the Tangier National Film Festival tackeled identity problems, the exodus of Moroccan Jews, masculine impotence and the new trend of young rockers accused of "satanism".

The Festival took place in the Moroccan city of Tangier from the 18th til the 27th of October with the precence of the new Moroccan Minister for Culture, the actress Touria Jabrane.

3rd Edition of the Casablanca Film Festival


The third Edition of CASA CINE, the Casablanca Film Festical, is going to start the 31st of October until the 6th of November.

To Know more go visit the official Web Site of the Festival:

Marrakesh Film Festival

2007 Marrakech Film Festival to pay tribute to Egyptian cinema

"The Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM), will pay special tribute to the Egyptian cinema in its 7th edition, slated for December 7-15, said Noureddine Sail, Vice President of the FIFM Foundation and Chairman of the Centre Cinématographique Marocain (CCM).

"Some 90 Egyptian directors will attend this year's festival edition, which coincides with the centenary of Egyptian cinema, said Mr. Sail who was on a two-day visit to Egypt to coordinate with the Egyptian officials the preparations for the festival.
The Marrakech festival is due to screen 40 major Egyptian movies, including (hymn of hope), which was shot in the 30s starring Diva Oum khaltoum, and 'Imarat Yacoubian' 'the Yacoubian building' featuring famous Egyptian actor Adel Imam. [...]"

Source: (Morocco), October 10, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

First Libyan Horror Movie

Drops of Horror: First Horror Movie to be Produced in Libya

"In the midst of murder and mystery an intricate tale of horror holds audiences in suspense. Entitled: Drops of Horror, its producers have affirmed that this is the first horror film to be produced in Libya.

"Drops of Horror being true to its name is played by nine young talented first time actors, Housam Shghaifa, Mohamed Farekash, Adam Bargathy, Ahmed Sewi, Hamza Osman, Nada Alrahaibi, Suaad Alnasify, Rewada Mohamed Said and Mowada Bushnaf. Most of them are students at Al Fateh Centre for the Gifted in Benghazi.

"Twenty-three-year-old Maye Bushnaf director and cameraman said: 'It’s a unique first, a Libyan horror film produced by locally talented actors. The story line is set over two days of suspense with an intriguing twist and an Islamic moral to the story.'

"'Drops of Horror' was filmed in 2005 over a period of two months at the Al Fateh centre for the Gifted. It is a low budget production film of 49 minutes duration that was finally finished for release in November of 2006. [...]"
Source: Tripoli Post, August 4, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Perspective on Casablanca

À Casablanca les Anges Ne Volent Pas (In Casablanca Angels don't fly, 2004)

Director: Mohamed Asli
Script Writer: Mohamed Asli
Cast: Abdessamed Miftah El Kheir, Abderrazak el Badaoui, Rachid El Hazmir, Leila El Ahyani, Abdelaziz Essghyr
Release year: 2004, Cannes Film Festival
Genre: Drama
Country: Morocco/Italy
Time: 94 min.

About the movie:
The experiences of a trio of migrant workers in a Casablanca café are sympathetically explored in this accomplished debut feature from Moroccan director Mohamed Asli. Regularly sending money back to their families in the countryside, the men refuse to give up on their dreams, even in the face of the harsh realities of both urban and rural life. The result is an imaginative, credible work whose comic touches don’t obscure the suffering endured by its characters and the remote communities they’ve left behind.

About the Director: Born in 1957, the Moroccan director Mohamed Asli entered outstandingly in the universe of the features with "A Casablanca, les angels ne volent pas". Source: