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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
By Claudia Parsons
Sat Apr 15, 8:29 AM ET
Reuters


NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than 30 movies from the Arab and Muslim world will be playing at a week-long New York film festival, but will anybody be watching?

The Alwan Film Festival, created by a nonprofit group in lower Manhattan, features several well-known Middle Eastern directors. The films tackle timely subjects like the war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Afghanistan.

With American troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and the West's relations with the Muslim world perhaps the defining challenge of the decade, those involved in the festival want to help Americans learn what the "Muslim world" is all about.

"It's very important that Americans of all backgrounds come and see the films, especially on the event of the fifth year after 9/11," said Bader Ben Hirsi, a British-Yemeni director whose film opened the festival on Friday.

"It's important to see what the Middle East really is. I watch TV here and it's completely different from the Middle East I know," Hirsi said.

But the films are playing at just three lower Manhattan cinemas and the small festival has barely registered on the media radar of the city, coming as it does just before the much bigger Tribeca Film Festival whose program also boasts a substantial number of films from the Muslim world.

Hirsi said he hoped the festival would draw a diverse audience. "It would be nice, but I don't think it will be. I think the people that will turn out will probably be Arab Americans or Arabists," he said.

COMEDY, POLITICS, SEX AND PHILOSOPHY

While several of the Alwan Festival films focus on current affairs, Hirsi says his is a "bittersweet romantic comedy" -- the story of a wealthy young man who is about to get married to a woman he has not met but who falls in love with another woman.

"A New Day in Old Sanaa" is the first feature film made in Yemen, Hirsi said. It was a struggle to make it because of the bureaucracy, funding problems, misunderstanding and suspicion in Yemen, and even an actor getting stabbed, he said.

"I thought the hard part was over but the thing that really I just can't get is, we had incredible reviews ... and we've seen people charmed by this film. But sales agents and distributors don't (get it), and they can't believe it," he said.

"They just don't don't know what to do with it. It's not what they expect from the Arab world."

Highlights of the April 14-23 festival includes "Zaman: The Man from the Reeds" by Amer Alwan, the story of a father's journey from the marshes where he lives to Baghdad to search for a medicine to cure his adopted son.

Another Iraqi film, "Ahlaam" by Mohamed al-Daradji, is set in the days before and after the fall of Baghdad and is the story of a young girl locked up in a mental institute after her husband was arrested under Saddam Hussein. She is freed when her hospital is destroyed by a bomb and she roams the streets amid the chaos of the fall of the city in April 2003.

"Pakistan's Double Game" documents reporter Sharmeen Obaid's travels around her country to ask ordinary citizens what they think of their government's alliance with the United States and backing for its "war on terrorism."

A box office hit in Egypt, Saad Hendawi's "State of Love" is a post-9/11 love story looking at Arabs in the West.

"Sex and Philosophy" from Iran is about a man who decides to introduce his numerous mistresses to each other.
Hirsi said his film's budget was $1.4 million. The films generally have small budgets compared, of course, to Hollywood productions.

Sherif Sadek, one of the curators of the festival, said the ubiquity of American media and culture meant people in the Middle East understood more about America than vice versa.

"There seems to be a one-way street where Americans send information out but it's not receiving information, so hopefully this can provide a different point of view to the mistakes out there and the images being flashed on TV every day," he said.

Hirsi said there was a new wave of film makers from the Muslim world aiming to attract audiences beyond their own borders. "Everybody is frustrated seeing how Western media are depicting the Arab world," he said.

"It's Arab voices coming out for the first time now as opposed to voices from the West on the Arab world. Its Arab film makers saying 'This is our world."'

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so lets see, from this article, in the viewpoint of arab filmakers, the muslim world is about:

the war on terror, numerous mistresses, conflicts, bombs and anti-USA sentiment, suspicion..
gee, so not so different from what the western media shows after all.. which was what they wanted to prove, right?

Im seriously starting to wonder if the muslim world can exist without constantly finding someone to hate or some place to start a conflict over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
and just in case the average reader is still wondering what the "muslim world" is about after this article, notice the news alerts they put next to the article - philosophy? music? art? not really..


 

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Casa hiya mdinti
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Actually there are some good movies from arab world which bring intersting subjects and get a big sucess outside the country like the moroccan movie Marock which was screened in many movietheatres in france and Quebec and had many good critics from the press both in france and canada

> here is an article from canadian newspaper









Forbidden love set in Morocco blooms in Marock


By SHELDON KIRSHNER
Staff Reporter




Matthieu Boujenah, right, and Assaad Bouab in Marock.
Laila Marrakchi’s Marock breaks new ground.

Screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, her movie delves into a topic rarely seen in contemporary cinema.

Marock, set in Morocco in 1997, turns on the theme of forbidden love, a hot subject in any language or culture. But here the lovers are a Jew and an Arab. What could be more interesting in this age of radical Islam and the festering Arab-Israeli conflict?

The protagonists in this intriguing film are the secular and self-absorbed rich and idle youth of Casablanca who live in gated mansions with servants and fritter away their days in a haze of parties, marijuana, music, sex and fast cars.

As the film opens, to a pulsing disco musical score and the roar of late-model American and European cars vying for scarce parking spaces near a fancy club, a young couple in an automobile embrace and kiss in a moment of passion.

Nearby, in a telling juxtaposition of modern-day Morocco, an elderly Muslim man bows and prays.

As they kiss, the couple is brusquely interrupted by a police officers who asks for their papers.

The scene shifts to the rooftop garden of a sprawling house facing the shimmering sea. Rita (Morjana Alaoui), the spoiled 17-year-old daughter of a wealthy Arab businessman, takes a call from a friend who wants to introduce her to Youri (Matthieu Boujenah), a local heartthrob.

“The guy’s Jewish,” Rita’s girlfriend notes. But Rita, having spied Youri at a party, is smitten. She has a crush on Youri and desperately wants to meet him. Who cares if he’s Jewish.

Although Ramadan has already fallen, she desecrates the holiday by nibbling on pastry the cook has just baked. She playfully calls Rita a heathen.

The plot thickens when Rita’s brother, Mao (Assaad Bouab), returns from an extended stay in London. Mao, a handsome guy, is embracing Islam and Rita can’t understand his mindset.

“Are you nuts?” she asks in exasperation. Mao, upset by her heavy makeup, hits back. “You look like a *****,” he says.

Rita’s budding romance with Youri does not go unnoticed. “He’s a Jew,” her father’s chauffeur fumes. “So what,” she counters, breaking with tradition.

Marock makes the point, time and time again, that Jews and Arabs inhabit different worlds, that stereotypes usually define their relationships and that inter-religious liaisons are off limits.

Rita’s Muslim friend advises her, in all solemnity, that Jewish boys covet Arab girls, while Youri’s Jewish pal warns him that his parents will be none too pleased if he brings Rita home.

As their romance develops, Youri confides in Rita. He tells her that his parents want him to immigrate to the United States, and that they have felt uneasy as Jews in Morocco since the 1991 Gulf War.

The chasm between Jews and Arabs comes out in other ways as well.

When Rita’s father finds out she is dating Youri, he forbids her to see him again.

Youri’s best friend, a Jew, also offers unsolicited advice. “Arabs aren’t for us,” he says, referring to Rita.

Though Rita is open-minded, Youri’s Jewish background is an underlying source of concern to her. Sensing that she is staring at his Star of David necklace, he removes it as they make out.

Later, she urges him to convert to Islam. When he, in turn, asks Rita to convert to Judaism, she says her parents would be ashamed if she became a Jew.

Marrakchi, who wrote and directed the film, deals deftly with all these undercurrents of tension, and as a result, Marock is plausible and, one might add, quite entertaining.

The cast delivers the goods, but Morjana Alaoui stands out from the rest as a rising star, a Moroccan Reese Witherspoon
 

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Prince of Persia
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4,329 Posts
iran has a really big and developed movie industry *sad that dress codes stop some big investers but at the same time dress codes and restrictions bring up good ideas and creativity
 

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Believer
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shayan said:
iran has a really big and developed movie industry *sad that dress codes stop some big investers but at the same time dress codes and restrictions bring up good ideas and creativity
I agree with this statement....Man if you guys want to watch realy movies, check out some iranian movies.
 

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DAMNED
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Casa said:
Actually there are some good movies from arab world which bring intersting subjects and get a big sucess outside the country like the moroccan movie Marock which was screened in many movietheatres in france and Quebec and had many good critics from the press both in france and canada

> here is an article from canadian newspaper









Forbidden love set in Morocco blooms in Marock


By SHELDON KIRSHNER
Staff Reporter




Matthieu Boujenah, right, and Assaad Bouab in Marock.
Laila Marrakchi’s Marock breaks new ground.

Screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, her movie delves into a topic rarely seen in contemporary cinema.

Marock, set in Morocco in 1997, turns on the theme of forbidden love, a hot subject in any language or culture. But here the lovers are a Jew and an Arab. What could be more interesting in this age of radical Islam and the festering Arab-Israeli conflict?

The protagonists in this intriguing film are the secular and self-absorbed rich and idle youth of Casablanca who live in gated mansions with servants and fritter away their days in a haze of parties, marijuana, music, sex and fast cars.

As the film opens, to a pulsing disco musical score and the roar of late-model American and European cars vying for scarce parking spaces near a fancy club, a young couple in an automobile embrace and kiss in a moment of passion.

Nearby, in a telling juxtaposition of modern-day Morocco, an elderly Muslim man bows and prays.

As they kiss, the couple is brusquely interrupted by a police officers who asks for their papers.

The scene shifts to the rooftop garden of a sprawling house facing the shimmering sea. Rita (Morjana Alaoui), the spoiled 17-year-old daughter of a wealthy Arab businessman, takes a call from a friend who wants to introduce her to Youri (Matthieu Boujenah), a local heartthrob.

“The guy’s Jewish,” Rita’s girlfriend notes. But Rita, having spied Youri at a party, is smitten. She has a crush on Youri and desperately wants to meet him. Who cares if he’s Jewish.

Although Ramadan has already fallen, she desecrates the holiday by nibbling on pastry the cook has just baked. She playfully calls Rita a heathen.

The plot thickens when Rita’s brother, Mao (Assaad Bouab), returns from an extended stay in London. Mao, a handsome guy, is embracing Islam and Rita can’t understand his mindset.

“Are you nuts?” she asks in exasperation. Mao, upset by her heavy makeup, hits back. “You look like a *****,” he says.

Rita’s budding romance with Youri does not go unnoticed. “He’s a Jew,” her father’s chauffeur fumes. “So what,” she counters, breaking with tradition.

Marock makes the point, time and time again, that Jews and Arabs inhabit different worlds, that stereotypes usually define their relationships and that inter-religious liaisons are off limits.

Rita’s Muslim friend advises her, in all solemnity, that Jewish boys covet Arab girls, while Youri’s Jewish pal warns him that his parents will be none too pleased if he brings Rita home.

As their romance develops, Youri confides in Rita. He tells her that his parents want him to immigrate to the United States, and that they have felt uneasy as Jews in Morocco since the 1991 Gulf War.

The chasm between Jews and Arabs comes out in other ways as well.

When Rita’s father finds out she is dating Youri, he forbids her to see him again.

Youri’s best friend, a Jew, also offers unsolicited advice. “Arabs aren’t for us,” he says, referring to Rita.

Though Rita is open-minded, Youri’s Jewish background is an underlying source of concern to her. Sensing that she is staring at his Star of David necklace, he removes it as they make out.

Later, she urges him to convert to Islam. When he, in turn, asks Rita to convert to Judaism, she says her parents would be ashamed if she became a Jew.

Marrakchi, who wrote and directed the film, deals deftly with all these undercurrents of tension, and as a result, Marock is plausible and, one might add, quite entertaining.

The cast delivers the goods, but Morjana Alaoui stands out from the rest as a rising star, a Moroccan Reese Witherspoon

wow interesting!
 

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Kuvvaci said:
I don't like any organization or event with the name of "Muslim"... Is there any " Jewish" films festival, or Christian, Hindu, Shintoism film festivals o sport organizations... Plus, they pretend as if Muslim world is one.
Theres nothing wrong with that. besides, the muslim world SHOULD BE one. Unity is a strength, not a weakness. Some people unfortunately, dont understand that.
 
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