DUBAI: Five Arab movies are set to screen at the US’s Tribeca Film Festival this month among hundreds of international films.
The 20th edition of the event is set to take place from June 9-20 both as a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual festivities. The event will celebrate films, documentaries, video games, podcasts and more.
Read on for the Arab movies set to premiere at the prestigious festival.
Egyptian writer-director Ayten Amin, who is based in Cairo, has long chronicled the lives of women in modern Egypt. Her film, “Souad,” was one of 56 films chosen as the “official selections” of the cancelled 2020 edition of Cannes.
The key topic of “Souad,” which Amin began writing in 2015, is how social media affects the lives of young girls approaching adulthood.
In a previous interview with Arab News about her film, she said: “For girls in small cities, it's a more conservative society. Their life is much more limited. They don’t mingle much.”
“Social media is very important for them; it’s like a window to the outside world. Most of them have fake identities on Facebook, they don’t use their real names, and they have relationships with people from other cities.”
The film is competing for the International Narrative category.
‘No Longer Suitable for us’
Directed by New York-based filmmaker Julian Joslin, this film is competing in the shorts category.
The 21-minute movie, which is set to premier on June 12, tells the story of Samir, played by British-Syrian actor Laith Nakli, a Syrian FBI informant and a single father who has built a fragile life for himself and his young son in Brooklyn.
As the story unfolds, Samir gets an opportunity to tell a lie that might end the deportation proceedings threatening to separate him from his son and their new home.
‘Simple as Water’
“Simple as Water,” competing in the features category, is a soft-spoken feature on love, displacement, and fracturing familial relations from Academy Award-winner Megan Mylan.
Between Turkey, Greece, Germany, and the US, the movie portrays the elemental bonds holding together Syrian families pulled apart by war, searching for a new life.
‘Peace by Chocolate’
“Peace by Chocolate,” which is part of the Tribeca Online Premieres category, is director and actor Hatem Ali’s last role before he died in December 2020 in Egypt due to a heart attack.
Based on a true story, Canadian filmmaker Jonathan Keijser’s narrative feature debut encompasses the themes of immigration, refugees from a war-torn country, the power of food to bring people together, the “Canadian Dream” of growing a small business and prospering, and choosing between your passion and your family.
After fleeing war-torn Lebanon after the family’s chocolate factory is bombed, Tareq Hadhad, played by Ayham Abou Ammar, and his Syrian family immigrate to the small town of Antigonish in Canada.
Tareq’s father Issam, played by Ali, starts making chocolates again that are a hit at the local church. The success of his business threatens a local chocolatier.
While Issam’s “Peace by Chocolate” business continues to grow, Tareq is torn between his dream of becoming a doctor and his obligation to the family business.
‘The Ballad of a White Cow’
“The Ballad of a White Cow,” part of the festival’s Tribeca Critics’ Week category, is a multi-narrative about capital punishment.
The main character Mina’s life turns upside down when she learns that her husband was innocent of the crime for which he was executed, so she starts a silent battle against a cynical system for her own and her daughter’s sake.
Co-written and co-directed by regional filmmakers Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha, the film leads to the themes of injustice, grief, lies, regret and revenge.