Kurdish women fighters film sparks Cannes row

French film ‘Girls of the Sun’ team during a photocall at the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. (AFP)
Updated 14 May 2018
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Kurdish women fighters film sparks Cannes row

  • ‘Girls of the Sun’ depicts a platoon of Yazidi women battling the extremists.
  • The movie is set in Kurdistan in the days leading up to the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks, in which 130 people died.

CANNES, France: A harrowing film about Kurdish women fighters taking on Daesh terrorists sparked a furious row between critics at the Cannes film festival on Sunday — with some being accused of misogyny.

“Girls of the Sun,” which follows a platoon of Yazidi women battling the extremists who had enslaved them and their children, was premiered at the same time as one person was killed and four others wounded in a knife attack in Paris claimed by Daesh.

The movie, with Iranian star Golshifteh Farahani as a lawyer who picks up an AK47 to lead the Sun Brigade of survivors, is set in Kurdistan in the days leading up to the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks, in which 130 people died.

The premiere followed a historic protest on the Cannes red carpet by Hollywood stars and female filmmakers demanding equal pay and an end to sexism.

But as the curtain came down, a shouting match erupted at a nearby screening for critics.

A small number who had booed the film were shouted down by others, who accused them of disrespecting the film’s female director and cast.

“It’s not about you, dude. Not your time to talk,” one said.

A still from the controversial film, ‘Girls of the Sun.’

The divide was equally stark in the first reviews published Sunday, with the French magazine Telerama calling the war film “naive and inconsequential,” while others said it was a “disservice to a noble cause.”

But IndieWire’s David Ehrlich said it was impossible not to be moved by it and called it a “surefire Palme (d’Or) contender,” referring to the festival’s top prize.

He conceded that there “was a little too much paprika on the sandwich where none would have done nice, but (French director) Eva Husson is one hell of a filmmaker.”

French Producer Claudine Nougaret Depardon took to Twitter to condemn the “misogynous and condescending attitude to this beautiful and courageous film.”

She said: “Let’s fight to demand the early retirement for these (male) critics.”

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw also rallied to its defense, hailing it as a rousing “feminist war movie: Impassioned, suspenseful, angry.”

While admitting that some might find it naive and “unsophisticated.... for me it is heartfelt, forthright and muscular.”

But several French critics excoriated Husson’s handling of the story, arguing that some of the women characters were paper thin.

The Hollywood Reporter was also critical of its “narrative histrionics and a tear-jerking score worthy of a Walt Disney movie.”

But it praised Husson for “shining a light on an important and terrifying story that made headlines a few years ago but has since been forgotten by many of us.”

Overall, critic Jordan Mintzer called it “a meaty all-female war movie served with an extra slice of cheese.”


The Six: Louvre Abu Dhabi set to host ‘Big in Japan’ weekend

The Louvre Abu Dhabi. (Shutterstock)
Updated 36 min 32 sec ago
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The Six: Louvre Abu Dhabi set to host ‘Big in Japan’ weekend

DUBAI: The Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to host a “Big in Japan” weekend from Oct. 25 – 27, featuring a range of activities inspired by the ongoing “Japanese Connections: The Birth of Modern Décor” exhibition.
Innovative music
On Thursday, Japanese Turntable Symphonograph Orchestra will reconstruct classical music by spinning vinyl records, using turntables and mixers as their instruments of choice.
Spoken word
On Friday, award-winning Emirati spoken-word artist Afra Atiq will perform a poem inspired by the artworks in the “Japanese Connections” exhibition space.
Homemade cartoon
“Emara,” a series featuring a hijab-wearing crime fighter, will be screened on Friday, followed by a discussion with voiceover artist Maryam Al-Atouly.

(Image supplied)


Mural magic
On Friday, visitors can enjoy the big reveal of the first-time collaboration between Abu Dhabi-based students and renowned street artist Myneandyours as they add the final strokes to their murals.
Anime screening
Fan favorite “Big Hero 6” will be screened on Saturday. The comedy-adventure, which has some seriously emotional moments, tells the story of the bond between an inflatable robot and a boy.
A Japanese tale
Set to be screened on Saturday, “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” tells the story of a bamboo cutter who finds a miniature girl and raises her as his daughter.