Arabic Film Festival April 2-6

Posted: March 30, 2007

Mount Holyoke's second annual Arabic Film Festival will take place April 2-6, with the screening of a different film each night at 7 pm, followed by a discussion. The film festival is sponsored by the College's Asian Studies department.

The Fall of Baghdad
April 2, 7 pm, Cleveland Hall, Room 2

This is a story is of an average family enduring devastating regional conditions, as told through the eyes of Salma, their daughter. Salma is an educated young woman who closely follows the current bloody and devastating situation in Iraq and other Arab countries in the region, which are all suffering from various types of military adventures and agendas in their homelands. Salma's father, a school headmaster, searches for a young Egyptian who can invent some way that Egypt can use to defend itself against any upcoming invasion. The Fall of Baghdad shows how the schoolmaster appoints his former student, Tariq, for this national mission, puts all his trust in him, and marries his daughter off to the young inventor. Will Tariq be able to come up with the long awaited weapon to save Egypt?

Paradise Now
April 3, 7 pm, Cleveland Hall, Room 3

Sa'id and Khaled are walking time bombs. With explosives strapped to their bodies, the two young Palestinians from the occupied West Bank slip into Israel, planning a suicide mission in Tel Aviv. Can anything change the minds of these desperate young men who have seen the worst type of humiliation? Paradise Now--sweepingly powerful and intricately detailed, highly acclaimed and widely controversial--tells the story of these two lifelong friends and their mission of doom that targets innocent civilians. Hany Abu Assad directs, shooting this harrowing thriller in locations made equally harrowing by real-life missile attacks, exploding land mines, suspicious Palestinian factions, Israeli brutal occupied forces and their tactics, and the kidnapping of a crew member. The result is a film that knows its topic up close and provides no easy answers. Instead, Paradise Now lays bare the humanity and the horror for all to see, to ponder, and more importantly, to help break this crazy cycle of violence and counter violence.

Yacoubian Building
April 4, 7 pm, Cleveland Hall, Room 3

This movie is based on the novel by the same title, which has been a best seller in Egypt and the Arab world over the last decade. 'Imarat Yacoubian took the Arab literary establishment by storm, as the novel does not shy away from weaving sordid tales of political corruption, sexuality, and torture in story elements that could have potentially seen the book banned. The story and the film express all these elements through the lives of the residents of the building, which represents segments within Egyptian society. Yacoubian Building shows how the picture changes as the country's political system moves from monarchy to an Arab nationalist regime under Naser.

The Kite
April 5, 7 pm, Cleveland Hall, Room 3

In a village in south Lebanon on the border with Israel, Lamia, a 16-year-old young woman, makes her kite fly over a barbed-wire zone that cuts the village in two. Lamia was engaged to a cousin she has never met in person or seen because he lives on the other side of the barbed wire. The village inhabitants could only communicate with members of their families through loudspeakers, but under strict Israeli military control. Lamia's kite goes through the border lines numerous times, and her action is watched by an Israeli soldier in an observation tower. They fell in love, but what can one do in such a messy situation?

Freedom Seekers
April 6, 7 pm, Cleveland Hall, Room 3

This film focuses on the status of Arab urban women and their struggle with other cultures when they leave their own to face new societies and encounter different challenges. Freedom Seekers follows three women and depicts their different stories, though all of them share one theme: seeking freedom. One of the women is Daliya al-Bhairy, a painter. Unfortunately her husband is truly jealous of her success, so she leaves him and her son behind and finds herself forced to emigrate to France to fulfill her dreams and enhance her artistic skills. In Paris she meets an Egyptian engineer and soon finds herself captured in a love relationship that forces her to make choices between freedom and motherhood, and between love and longing for her home country.

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Asian Studies Department