Holocaust-based film ‘Resistance’ to screen at Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival

‘Resistance’ will be screened at the Red Sea Film Festival in March. (Supplied)
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Updated 18 February 2020

Holocaust-based film ‘Resistance’ to screen at Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival unveiled its inaugural movie lineup this week, with a few surprises on the list, including Holocaust-based film, “Resistance.”

The Jonathan Jakubowicz-directed World War II film, starring Jesse Eisenberg as Marcel Marceau, who was a member of the French Resistance, will mark the first time a film that explores the Holocaust will screen in the Kingdom

The significance was not lost on film aficionados, who took to social media to congratulate the Venezuelan director.

“Congratulations @JoJakubowicz I am very proud of all your achievements,” one user wrote. “A geopolitical achievement. Good job, Jonathan!” another user tweeted. 

“I think it’s a promising move toward artistic freedom,” Makkah-based Saudi filmmaker Talal Wassmy told Arab News when asked what the implications of the screening would be.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Yahya, a Saudi film critic for movie-focused website filmphoria.com, added that “it is a great cultural shift toward a less prejudiced mindset. I am glad we are no longer beholden to one narrative when it comes to history.”

The biographical drama tells the story of a young French actor, Marcel Marceau, who joins the French Resistance at the beginning of World War II in order to help save the lives of 10,000 Jewish orphans from Nazi forces in France.

Marceau, who was also famous for being a mime artist that delighted audiences for decades as “Bip,” used his miming skills to keep the orphaned children comfortable and quiet during the risky smuggled escapes to Switzerland.

“The kids loved Marcel and felt safe with him,” the late actor’s cousin and commander of the French Resistance, Georges Loinger, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency in 2007, after Marceau’s death.

“The kids had to appear like they were simply going on vacation to a home near the Swiss border and Marcel really put them at ease.”

The full cast of the film includes Edgar Ramírez, Clémence Poésy, Bella Ramsey, Matthias Schweighöfer, Géza Röhrig, Karl Markovics, Félix Moati, Alicia von Rittberg and Vica Kerekes. 

The film will be screened in Saudi Arabia before it is released in the US on March 27.

Also screening at the film festival, which is taking place from March 12-21 in Jeddah, is Derek Tsang’s “Better Days,“ “Air Conditioner” by Angolan Fradique, which premiered recently at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Mongolian-German director Uisenma Borchu’s semi-autobiographical drama “Black Milk,” which are also part of the competition lineup.

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature to go ahead in 2021

Updated 12 July 2020

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature to go ahead in 2021

DUBAI: It has been announced on Sunday that the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will go ahead in 2021. The festival will feature a programme of both digital and live, physical events, and is scheduled to run from Feb 4 to 6, 2021. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers of the UAE’s biggest literary festival held a number of different literature-themed events online, including digitally releasing content from past events and producing a programme of live online events with celebrated authors.

 In light of the success of these virtual-only events during the pandemic, the organizers decided to incorporate physical and digital components to the 13th edition of the festival. 

The “phygital” approach has been taken by fashion weeks and other events, including the BET Awards, over the past few months. 

Dubai Design Week has confirmed this weekend that the sixth edition of its annual festival will be an amalgamation of physical and virtual events. 

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is known for bringing together an array of celebrated names in the literature world under one roof. 

A number of events and festivals have been cancelled recently in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Up until today, the fate of the UAE’s annual literary festival was uncertain.