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