Arab designers spice up Venice Film Festival red carpet

Molly Sims’ Zuhair Murad gown was equally impactful from the back. (Getty Images)
Updated 02 September 2019

Arab designers spice up Venice Film Festival red carpet

DUBAI: Stars from across the world have turned to Arab designers for their red carpet appearances at the ongoing Venice Film Festival.

From Romanian actress and model Madalina Diana Ghenea to Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, the international film industry’s leading ladies have been showing off a number of glittering ensembles from regional designers since the festival opened on Wednesday.




Madalina Diana Ghenea showed off a sparkling look by Zuhair Murad. (Getty Images)

Ghenea took to the red carpet last week in a sparkling nude-colored number by Lebanese designer-to-the-stars Zuhair Murad, which featured a gently scooped square neckline and no shortage of glittering silver embellishments, as well as a thin metallic belt at the waist.

US actress and model Molly Sims also showed off a gown by Zuhair Murad, but it was drastically different due to its pretty pink hue and cascade of rose-colored frills on the exaggerated shoulders. With a plunging neckline and beaded detailing on the flowy skirt, it stood out on the Venetian red carpet.

French model Gabrielle Caunesil opted for a vibrant gown by Lebanese designer Rami Kadi, best known for his edgy cuts and use of unexpected materials — he is a fan of plastic and glass. “Thanks @ramikadi for the beautiful dress, @renecaovilla for the princess shoes, @chopard and @armanibeauty for making me feel beautiful. It takes a village,” Caunesil took to Instagram to say.

Meanwhile, the director of Oscar-nominated film “Capernaum,” Labaki, chose a black gown by Lebanese talent Georges Hobeika.

The dress, which she showed off at Saturday’s screening of “J’Accuse,” featured a plunging rectangular neckline — which almost hit her navel — and gem encrusted details.




French model Gabrielle Caunesil opted for a vibrant gown by Lebanese designer Rami Kadi. (Getty Image)

Hollywood heavyweight Scarlett Johansson chose to show off a scarlet column gown by French fashion house Celine, designed by its French-Tunisian creative director Hedi Slimane.

The sweetheart neckline, hip-high slit and rouched material on the sparkling bodice combined to make it a standout look.

Johansson wore the Celine gown on the red carpet before Thursday’s screening of “Marriage Story,” a Netflix film about a couple — she plays an actress and he plays a theater director — with an eight-year-old son managing a bi-coastal separation and divorce.

Johansson stars alongside Adam Driver in the film that is competing for the Golden Lion award.

Although Johansson had her own experiences to draw on having most recently divorced French businessman Romain Dauriac in 2017, she said there was something of everyone behind the film in the brutally honest but tender character study.

 “It felt fated in a way,” Johansson said. “It came somehow at just the right time,” she told The Associated Press.


Film review: ‘Parkour(s)’ takes obstacle course through class conflict

The sport of parkour forms the backdrop of this Algerian film. Supplied
Updated 08 December 2019

Film review: ‘Parkour(s)’ takes obstacle course through class conflict

  • Fatma Zohra Zamoum’s “Parkour(s)” is set in a small city in Algeria
  • It screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival

CHENNAI: The fast-paced sport of parkour — or negotiating obstacles in an urban environment by running, jumping and climbing — forms the backdrop of this Algerian film.

Fatma Zohra Zamoum’s “Parkour(s)” is set in a small city in Algeria, and it seems that the director has used the title to convey the kind of histrionics her characters indulge in. Take, for instance, Youcef (Nazim Halladja) — a sportsman playing parkour — literally cartwheeling through the urban landscape. His reckless antics also include threatening people with a gun and pleading with would-be bride Kamila (Adila Bendimered) to ditch her future husband, Khaled, (Mohamed Bounoughaz). 

The movie, which screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival, unfolds during a day and takes us to the wedding and the assorted group of men and women gathered there. As we see these people making their way toward the occasion, we get to see that they are all motivated by different pulls and pressures.

The film unfolds during a day and takes us to a wedding and the assorted group of men and women gathered there. Supplied

Youcef is there to try to persuade Kamila from walking up the aisle. The kitchen help is set to make an extra buck. However, other characters have not been written with much conviction.

Zamoun says in a note: “The multi-character drama shows how a normal situation turns into major clashes reflecting the conflict between classes, ideas and generations in Algerian society, whose youth try to take control of their lives. But they are surrounded by those who try to handcuff them.” 

The movie is not convincing on this count. For example, how is the bride — who willingly prepares for the wedding (that was my impression, anyway) — “handcuffed?” The same can be said for other characters we encounter.

What comes across loud and clear, however, is the class difference. No clarity is lost when Khaled gives money to Youcef to buy a “decent” suit for the wedding and he is offended by Khaled’s arrogance. Youcef makes no bones about this to his friend — and perhaps he is taking his revenge when he tries to sow discord among his fellow characters. Also worthy of note is the performance by the young daughter of the kitchen help, Nedjma (Lali Mansour), who gives one of the most moving and natural sequences in “Parkour(s).”

The cinematography is nothing to rave about and Youcef’s parkour antics are rather intrusive and add little to the narrative.