These Four Amazing Arab Films are Tackling Issues of Gender

Published August 28th, 2017 - 01:13 GMT
"I Still Hide to Smoke." (uniFrance Films)
"I Still Hide to Smoke." (uniFrance Films)

In just five days, the Arab Film Festival Australia (AFFA) will be screening films from Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt,  Iraq, Tunisia, and (though arguably not an Arab country, if you think about it) Australia.

The films chosen will shine a light on issues of gender in the Arab world: how women overcome modern-day ignorance and prejudice, how men circumvent patriarchal expectations of their masculinity.

The films are:

  • Mahbas (Solitaire), a rom-com which will screen Friday, the 1st of September. Directed by Sophie Boutros, Mahbas is the story of Therese, the mayor’s wife, who is overjoyed that her daughter will be getting married and begins preparing to host her daughter’s future in-laws. But the memory of her brother, killed by a Syrian bomb 20 years ago, is with her—and to her horror, she discovers her visitors are from Syria…
  • I Still Hide to Smoke, helmed by Rayhana Obermeyer: a Turkish bath becomes the place where women clash. Starring Hiam Abbas, I Still Hide to Smoke attempts to explore the lives of women under Islamist rule in Algeria. Provocative and overtly political, the film lets the women tell their stories while maintaining a ­12 Angry Men­-esque adherence to a single location.
  • Ali, The Goat, and Ibrahim, directed by Sherif El Bendary, is the story of two men and a the goat one of them believes is his reincarnated girlfriend. Hoping to break the curse, the two men take the goat and take a road trip in this unusual, but highly acclaimed, buddy road film.
  • Gaza Surf Club, directed by Philip Gnadt and Mickey Yamine, is a documentary. Focusing on a group of boys and girls who take-up surfing in the world’s largest open-air prison, Gaza, and their attempts at making sense of their lives, locked between Egypt and the Israeli occupation.

The Festival is supported through the Council for Australian-Arab Relations, part of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Major sponsorship from Create NSW through Screen NSW, among others. 

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