The 16th edition of Beirut International Film Festival (BIFF) has kicked off with 76 movies including 36 short films and signatures of international directors.
The festival has opened its show with “The Girl on the Train”, a movie by US director Tate Tailor and starring British actress Emily Blunt; and will conclude on the 13th of October with the documentary “The First Monday of May” directed by Andrew Rossi, who takes us to the world of celebrities during a show for Western fashion inspired by Chinese civilization.
This year, the festival has allocated a remarkable space for movies talking about Lebanon, the vibrant streets of its capital and its magnificent soirees. The festival also addresses the Arab audience by showing movies that discuss the suffering of Syrian refugees and the Iraqi people, particularly those who witnessed terrorist massacres; it also includes a number of international movies that received global awards.
BIFF also comprises two competitions: the “Middle Eastern Short Film” and the “International Panorama” in addition to six other categories, including the “public space” sector that will include works tackling women cases, problems of Arab women, and other important topics.
The Festival’s manager Colette Naufal said cinema can make a difference in discussing these cases, because it can break into people’s emotions.
Commenting on the movies selection, Naufal said that the movies this year have been selected from different and divers sources; some of them were among the best works showed in international festivals like Festival de Cannes.
BIFF received applications of more than 400 movies to participate in the Middle Eastern Short Film competition but only the best were selected; 25 movies will be shown in the “Panorama International” including “Elle” for Dutch Director Paul Verhoeven, which was shown in Cannes; and “La Danseuse” for French Director Stephanie di Giusto.
The Lebanese will also have the chance to watch the U.S. film “Little Men” directed by Ira Sachs and “Sweet Dreams” for the Italian Marco Bellocchio.
Moreover, as part of the documentaries, films on the Syrian war are expected to mark a significant presence; movies like “Mahabba” by Waddah Fahed and “Hia, hia al-Ghurba” by the Algerian Yasir bin Shallah highlighting the suffering of the children refugees who escaped the war in Syria to Lebanon. The same category will also comprise many movies for Lebanese directors in addition to a Saudi Arabian movie directed by Mohammad al-Hlayel.
Finally, 16 movies will be shown as part of the “Public Space” sector, which showcases critical social cases like “Skin” by Farah Diab along with a series of movies tackling women-related cases like “Faith” for Egyptian Director Lamina Majdi Rizk.
By Vivian Haddad
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