DUBAI: Palestinian-British filmmaker Farah Nabulsi’s short film “The Present” and British director Ben Sharrock’s “Limbo,” starring Egyptian-British actor Amir El-Masry, have been nominated for the 2021 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) awards.
French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim’s thriller-drama “The Mauritanian” has been listed in five categories for best film, outstanding British film, leading actor, adapted screenplay, and cinematography.
Nabulsi’s movie has been shortlisted in the British short film section, while “Limbo” has been nominated for outstanding British film, outstanding debut by a British writer, and director or producer awards.
“The Present” is a short film that tells the story about a man named Yusef and his daughter who set out in the West Bank to buy his wife a gift.
Meanwhile, “Limbo” sees El-Masry star as a Syrian asylum-seeker who finds himself living on a small Scottish island.
Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who fights for freedom after being detained and imprisoned without charge by the US government after the 9/11 terror attacks, is the subject of the “The Mauritanian.”
World’s oldest ghost image found on British Museum Babylon tablet
Artefact, nearly 3,500 years old, never exhibited as male and female figures so faint
Curator: ‘It is a Guinness Book of Records object, because how could anybody have a drawing of a ghost which was older?’
Updated 16 October 2021
LONDON: The oldest depiction of a ghost recorded in human history has been discovered at the British Museum.
The image, on an ancient Babylonian clay tablet nearly 3,500 years old — acquired in the 19th century — shows a bearded man being led to the afterlife by a woman, with his hands held out before him, tied together.
Dr. Irving Finkel, curator of the Middle East department at the museum, said the tablet — which has cuneiform text accompanying the image, and which has never been on public display — was meant to help the living remove unwanted spirits by aiding them to settle unfinished business.
The nature of the tablet, Finkel said, had been missed for years because the image of the ghosts is so faint and only visible under certain light, while it is also significantly damaged.
“You’d probably never give it a second thought because the area where the drawings are looks like it’s got no writing,” he told The Guardian.
“But when you examine it and hold it under a lamp, those figures leap out at you across time in the most startling way. It is a Guinness Book of Records object, because how could anybody have a drawing of a ghost which was older?”
Review: ‘Convergence: Courage in a Crisis’ takes on a gargantuan challenge
Updated 16 October 2021
LONDON: For the most part, British director Orlando von Einsiedel’s new Netflix documentary, “Convergence: Courage in a Crisis,” manages to strike a balance between poignant and harrowing without straying too far into self-indulgence. But only for the most part. The filmmaker, the creative voice behind the excellent “White Helmets” and “Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul,” has created a new documentary that is equal parts loving tribute and critical dissection, as he weaves together a series of different story threads, all following those impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The movie’s subjects are varied and diverse — from a first responder in the Brazilian favelas to a couple under lockdown in Tehran. An expectant mother and father in India tell their story, while a Syrian filmmaker volunteering at a hospital in London is also highlighted, alongside a young driver transporting staff and drugs in Wuhan and a doctor and activist working in Miami. Each story has something unique about it. Von Einsiedel’s greatest creative stroke in this movie is giving his subjects the room to tell their own stories, because each is heartbreaking and life-affirming in its own way.
Where the movie gets harder to follow is when the director tries to do too much in too short a time. In less than two hours, we get commentary on governmental mismanagement, the Black Lives Matter movement, institutional racism, nationwide inequality, and a handful of other topics made all the more pressing during the pandemic. There are also tantalizing glimpses inside the World Health Organization, and the Oxford University vaccine development program. But we must make do with just a few minutes of each, before we are whisked off to the next story. There is deep, resonant and powerful storytelling running throughout “Convergence” — if only we were given a little more time to take it all in.
Actress Salma Hayek shows off Elie Saab suit in Los Angeles
Updated 16 October 2021
DUBAI: US-Mexican actress Salma Hayek made an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in Los Angeles this weekend wearing a feisty leopard-print suit by Lebanese designer Elie Saab.
The actress, who is of Spanish and Lebanese descent, appeared on the TV show alongside fellow actor Kumail Nanjiani to talk about their latest film, Marvel’s “Eternals.”
For the occasion, she looked glamorous in a coordinating set by Saab, hailing from the designer’s pre-Fall 2021 collection.
The wide-legged animal-print pants featured a single black stripe on each leg, while the fitted blazer boasted black lapels and was worn over a sheer black top with a high collar.
The film’s star-studded cast includes Hayek, Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden and teen Syrian refugee-turned-actor Zain Al-Rafeea, among others.
Directed by Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao, the plot centers on an immortal alien race with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years. The film is set to be released in theaters in November.
While chatting with show host Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday, Hayek revealed why her co-star Jolie smashed her face into a birthday cake in a video that went viral online in September.
When the show host asked about her 55th birthday celebration last month, Hayek said: “There was no birthday party. All of those people were crashers. I said, ‘I don’t want a birthday party this year.’ I had to work all day. Twenty-five people, that I told them there is no birthday party, showed up anyway,” she said, referring to the party documented in her September Instagram post.
The actress then explained that it’s a Mexican birthday tradition to push a person’s face into their cake — and Jolie was tasked with the job.
In the video, a group of friends are gathered around the actress chanting, “Mordida!” as Jolie pushes Hayek’s face into her birthday cake.
“After you blow the candles, you have to mordida,” Hayek explained to Kimmel. “It means a bite. You have to bite the cake with your mouth, without your hands holding or anything. Then, there’s always one that comes and hits you and sticks your face inside the cake.
“We were starting, ‘Mordida!’ She’s like, ‘What’s happening?’” Hayek said of Jolie’s apparent confusion over the tradition, before she got in on the fun and smashed Hayek's face into the coconut cake.
World’s largest floating nightclub opens on Dubai’s historic QE2 cruise liner
Float Dubai, billed as ‘the world’s largest floating nightclub,’ still faces COVID-19 restrictions
Ship, launched by namesake Queen Elizabeth II in 1967, has sailed over 6m nautical miles
Updated 16 October 2021
LONDON: The world’s largest floating nightclub has opened onboard the retired Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship in Dubai.
The luxury Float Dubai venue, which can accommodate 1,000 people, hosted an opening party on Thursday ahead of its first weekend.
Celebrities including American actress Lindsay Lohan, rapper DaBaby and British boxer Amir Khan are expected to appear aboard the ship this weekend, which once hosted the likes of Hollywood stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, partying will be limited, with tables needing to be booked in advance, security guards preventing people from standing up and dancing, and plainclothes police officers patroling the venue to prevent infringements.
Dubai extended the strictest anti-COVID-19 measures in the UAE, with seating rules in many hospitality venues only relaxed in August this year.
Many are now allowed to stay open until 3 a.m., but social distancing measures remain in place.
Rob Smith, a British expat who attended Float Dubai’s opening night, told The Times: “It feels so good to see things opening back up again. It feels like things are getting back to normal.”
The QE2 was bought by Dubai government entity DP World, controlled by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, in 2008 for around $88 million.
Parts of the vessel were converted into a hotel in 2018, with plans to base it off the Palm Jumeirah island resort.
The club’s opening was delayed by the onset of the pandemic, with the rooms left vacant and the QE2 subsequently relocated to Rashid Port, where its monthly upkeep is estimated at around £650,000 ($893,424).
British expat Lara Rogers added: “The ship has an eerie vibe to it. It’s a shame to see it like this. It needs some TLC (tender loving care) to bring it back to life because it has so much history here within these walls. Maybe the club can help inject some excitement for it again.”
The QE2 was originally launched in 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland. At 963 feet, it is estimated to have carried over 2.5 million passengers over its lifetime, traveled around 6 million nautical miles, circumnavigated the globe 25 times, and even served as a British troop ship during the Falklands War in 1982.
Stars shine on the ‘Casablanca Beats’ red carpet at El Gouna Film Festival
Updated 16 October 2021
EL GOUNA: Egypt’s El-Gouna Film Festival screened its first movie on Friday — the Moroccan film “Casablanca Beats.”
Stars, including Tunisian actress Dorra Zarrouk and Egyptian actress Amina Khalil, arrived on the red carpet in glamorous gowns.
Zarrouk opted for a voluminous grey gown by Dubai-based fashion house Maison Yeya. She accessorized her look with jewelry from Yessayan Jewelry, founded in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, Khalil chose an asymmetric golden dress designed by Egyptian couturier Sara Onsi. She completed her red carpet attire with a clutch from the Egyptian brand, previously championed by Kylie Jenner, Okhtein.
Egyptian actress Youssra wore a hot red satin gown from Egyptian fashion house Nazazy Couture. Her chunky gold earrings and bracelet were custom made by Egyptian label Dima Jewelry.
Lebanese influencer and entrepreneur Karen Wazen was among the guests who attended the event. This is Wazen’s first time attending the festival.
In an interview with Arab News after the event, she said: “I was so impressed, from the moment I walked in everything was extremely organized. It was such a beautiful venue. We’ve been to a lot of film festivals, a lot of red carpet events, and I don’t think we’ve seen something on this level.
“So, I am super proud to see something like this coming out of the Arab region. I can’t wait to be there again hopefully next year,” she added.
The eyewear designer wore a one-shouldered golden gown by Lebanese couturier Nicolas Jebran.
Egyptian actors Jamila Awad, Rogena, Ola Roshdy, Ahmed Dawood and veteran actress Laila Eloui were among other celebrities who posed for pictures before the screening.
“Casablanca Beats,” which was in competition for the prized Palme d’Or, had its world premiere in the official competition of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
Directed by renowned French-Moroccan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch, the film tells the story of a former rapper, Anas, who takes a job at a cultural center in a working-class neighborhood in Casablanca.
Encouraged by their new teacher, his students try to free themselves from the weight of restrictive traditions in order to live out their passions and express themselves through hip-hop.
The director and actors were not able to attend the screening of the film in El Gouna, said the executive producer who attended the red carpet.
It is competing for the feature narrative award at El Gouna Film Festival.