Updated 03 December 2019
Arab News

Hard-hitting Arab documentaries

From societal tales to personal struggles, here are some recently released hard-hitting Arab documentaries. 

  • ‘For Sama’

    The Syrian documentary, by filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab, is a love letter to Al-Kateab’s infant daughter, documenting the desperate conditions she and her husband lived through in Syria. It just picked up the best film prize at the British Independent Film Awards.

  • ‘Beirut Terminus’

    Lebanese director Elie Kamal debut documentary recently won the Best Nonfiction Film at the Cairo International Film Festival for its look at the country’s defunct railway system.

  • ‘History of the Emirates’

    This documentary uses CGI technology, 360-degree camerawork and archaeological footage to depict the history of the UAE over 125,000 years, culminating with the formation of the union in 1971.

  • ‘Ibrahim: A Fate to Define’

    Director Lina Al-Abed searches for traces of her disappeared father — a seemingly ordinary Palestinian man who was actually a secret member of a militant splinter faction.

  • ‘Talking About Trees’

    “Talking About Trees,” by Sudan’s Suhaib Gasmelbari, follows four older filmmakers who battle to bring cinema-going back to Sudan.

  • ‘143 Sahara Street’

    Algerian Hassen Ferhani's quiet documentary about an off-the-grid café is an intimate portrait of its proprietor and her guests.