This year’s film programme lets you watch some of the best Arab Cinema online, and we have developed a reading list so you can explore the films in advance.
Each month has two films for you to enjoy. Linked thematically, they are designed to be enjoyed as a double bill or to watch separately. There are so many stories to share from the world of Arab film. It’s a rich and varied industry, with long lasting film tradition and culture. Our programme is designed for those just discovering Arab Cinema, as well as those seasoned film lovers.
Our July and August programme is live now. This year we’re using on the online platform Eventive. You can create a login or sign up using Facebook, then watch the films via any browser or online device. Each films is £5 to watch and are available for different lengths of time, because of licensing. If you pre-order, you’ll get a notification when the film is available to watch. You’ll have seven days to start watching the film after it is made available. Once you start watching, you’ll have 24 hours to finish the film.
The Perfect Candidate
Available 16 – 31 July
Haifaa Al Mansour’s The Perfect Candidate tells the story of a determined young Saudi doctor’s surprise run for office in the local city elections sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town’s first female candidate.
The film, which was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 76th Venice International Film Festival is Al Mansour’s fifth feature. She is perhaps best known for her ground-breaking and award-winning WADJDA from 2012, the first feature film ever shot entirely inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Read a review of the film in The Guardian
Watch an interview with Haifaa Al Mansour here
Pre-book your ticket to watch The Perfect Candidate here
Available 22 – 25 July
Arab Blues, or Un divan à Tunis, is a French-Tunisian comedy, the debut of director Manele Labidi Labbé. It tells the story of Tunisian psychoanalyst Selma who, after being educated in Paris, moves back to Tunisia to open a psychoanalytic practice.
The 2019 film had its world premiere at the 76th Venice International Film festival.
Watch an interview with director Manele Labidi from Cascade Festival of African Films here
Read a review of the film on CinEuropa here
Pre-order your ticket to watch Arab Blues here
Talking About Trees
Available 1 – 31 August
Ibrahim, Manar, Suleiman and Altayeb are the members of the Sudanese Film Club founded in 1989. Unable to make films for years, they have decided to revive an old cinema. They are united not only by their love of cinema and their passionate desire to restore old films and draw attention to Sudanese film history once more, but also by the fact that they all enjoyed a film education outside Sudan.
Their plans to renovate the outdoor cinema come up against bureaucracy, lack of cash and a general fear of upsetting “he who cannot be named.” (The film was made before the recent overthrow of Omar al-Bashir).
In the meantime, they sit together and talk about the past and the history of Sudanese cinema, including their experiences of persecution and even torture as oppositional artists. They recall their times of exile and dream of a Sudan in which art and intellectual thought can be free. We are smarter than them, but not as strong, is the conclusion.
Read a review of the film in The New Yorker
Watch an interview with Ibrahim Soulieman here
Pre-order your ticket to watch Talking About Trees here
12 – 15 August
Omar Nizar works as a filmmaker and Founding Partner at a production company; a job he finds too superficial and non-artistic, mainly revolving around advertising, which he abhors. When his partner, Muhannah, asks him to create a commercial focusing on the history of Jeddah for a soulless and inauthentic product to please a client, Omar refuses and holds on to his principles, believing he should portray the country for what it truly is.
Jeddah to Omar is the place he grew up in, where his family and friends live, also his girlfriend Lina Najjar. They have been in a. relationship for two years, with Jeddah playing a role in shaping their relationship.
Read about the film here
Pre-order your ticket to watch Roll ‘Em here
Explore the whole of our July and August festival programme here