Actress Jodie Comer looks elegant at ‘The Last Duel’ premiere wearing Elie Saab

Actress Jodie Comer looks elegant at ‘The Last Duel’ premiere wearing Elie Saab
 British actress Jodie Comer may be the red carpet’s most exciting new face. File/Getty Images
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Updated 10 October 2021

Actress Jodie Comer looks elegant at ‘The Last Duel’ premiere wearing Elie Saab

Actress Jodie Comer looks elegant at ‘The Last Duel’ premiere wearing Elie Saab

DUBAI: British actress Jodie Comer may be the red carpet’s most exciting new face. Set to storm theaters this week with her new film “The Last Duel,” the Emmy award-winning actress is making waves during her global press tour promoting the forthcoming historical drama. 

Whether stunning fans in a Givenchy creation in Paris or taking to the Venice Film Festival red carpet in a knit Alaia dress, Comer has certainly pulled off a lineup of arresting looks in a short time.  

This week, she stepped out at the premiere of “The Last Duel” at New York’s Rose Theater at the Lincoln Center looking the picture of elegance as she walked the red carpet, wearing a refined and streamlined look from Lebanese couturier Elie Saab. The “Killing Eve” star chose a black double-breasted coat dress with a satin collar from the Beirut-born designer’s Fall 2021 ready-to-wear collection.




Jodie Comer wore a black Elie Saab coat dress to ‘The Last Duel’ premiere in New York City. Getty Images

The coat dress was the ultimate embodiment of comfort and sophistication. She elevated the look with a pair of black, sheer tights from Wolford, a Bulgari necklace and open-toed Jimmy Choo sandals.

Saab presented his eponymous label’s Fall 2021 ready-to-wear collection in March.

The over-80-piece offering boasted both daytime and evening options and was punctuated with glamorous, heavily-embellished gowns, pleated maxi skirts, expertly-tailored separates and flared jumpsuits. 




Jodie Comer wearing Alaia during the 78th Venice International Film Festival. Getty Images

“The Last Duel” is a gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance based on real events in 14th century France. Comer takes on the role of Marguerite — a noble woman who wants to see justice for a heinous crime committed against her.

Marguerite accuses squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) of rape. This leads her husband Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) to challenge Jacques to trial by combat, in what became the last legally sanctioned duel in France’s history.




The historical drama is based on real events in 14th century France. Supplied

The film presents the events from different points of view, an idea that director Ridley Scott had after watching the 1950 Japanese film “Rashomon,” which saw several people explaining the same story from different points of view.

The Elie Saab Fall 2021 ready-to-wear collection was an ode to strong and powerful women, so Comer’s choice of attire at the premiere was a rather fitting one.


Comic book festival draws laughs in Lebanon

Comic book festival draws laughs in Lebanon
Updated 1 min 9 sec ago

Comic book festival draws laughs in Lebanon

Comic book festival draws laughs in Lebanon
  • Drawing, music, illustration and masterclasses on offer as 40 artists from 14 nationalities display their work
  • ‘A country going through troubled times needs artists more than ever,’ says event’s organizer

BEIRUT: Hard-hit Lebanese might be struggling with soaring prices, food shortages and power cuts, but that did not stop the French Institute of Lebanon from pressing ahead with the country’s first comic book festival.

Forty artists representing 14 nationalities came together to show their work, some combining music and drawing. Exhibits in French, Arabic and English were displayed at 20 locations across the capital, including the Sursock Palace and Dagher Villa.

The big names in comics gave master classes to aspiring young talent. (Supplied)

Mathieu Diez, literary director at the institute and a former director of the Lyon comic book festival, said that the Beirut event had to be held “because a country that is going through troubled times needs artists more than ever.”

He added: “Lebanese artists that we reached out to have overwhelmingly responded. It is also an act of resistance.”

Diez said that the positive reaction to the four-day festival, which ended on Oct. 10, has been overwhelming.

“It was founded on a common ground between Western and Arab authors and audiences, and this merger met our greatest hopes.”

The event was held in three languages: French, Arabic and English. (Supplied)

Leading names in the comic world gave masterclasses to emerging talents. Guests included Penelope Bagieu; Charles Berberian, father of the famous “Henriette” series; Fabien Toulme; Mathieu Sapin; and Michele Standjofski, illustrator and head of the illustration section of the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts.

According to Standjofski, the festival gave students the chance to meet and learn from professionals in the sector.

During the opening concert held at the Sursock Palace, Lebanese illustrator Raphaelle Macaron signed the festival poster, and also completed drawings while accompanied by the Acid Arab band, a French group that plays electro-oriental music popular in the Maghreb, Europe and the Middle East.

Macaron said that the festival offered a chance to boost people’s spirits amid the  turmoil in Lebanon.

40 artists from 14 different nationalities are exhibiting their work and experiences. (Supplied)

“I am motivated by certain projects, either because they are liberating for me or because they contribute to the country’s progress. To me, the illuminated lighthouse in the poster represents hope at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Among many subjects tackled during the festival, the themes that captured most attention were the status of women — an issue that also affects the comic world — and the Lebanese revolution.

The exhibition held in Dar El-Nimer arts center — organized by the Mu’taz and Rada Sawaf Arab Comics Initiative of the American University of Beirut, and managed by illustrator Lina Ghaibeh — allowed the public to explore the new Arab comic book scene through original boards, dozens of magazine copies and individual or collective albums.

Designers from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia were featured in the display.

A number of topics were discussed during the festival (Supplied)

“Arab comics are over a 100 years old, but today’s young illustrators relate their everyday lives,” Ghaibeh said.

“The street is at the center of their creations, because they invaded it during the Arab Spring. They first met through graffiti and social media, then started collaborating. They have revealed themselves, affirmed their identity and managed to make their voices heard.”

For Tunisian illustrator Othman Selmi, the festival offered a chance to “review the problems and challenges to be met,” while Egyptian painter Migo said that the Dar El-Nimer exhibition “allows us to know where we are and what we can reach.”

All agreed the festival was the ideal antidote to the prevailing gloom in the country.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion

What We Are Reading Today: Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion
Updated 16 October 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion

What We Are Reading Today: Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion

Author: Elizabeth Carolyn Miller

The 1830s to the 1930s saw the rise of large-scale industrial mining in the British imperial world. Elizabeth Carolyn Miller examines how literature of this era reckoned with a new vision of civilization where humans are dependent on finite, nonrenewable stores of earthly resources, and traces how the threatening horizon of resource exhaustion worked its way into narrative form.
Britain was the first nation to transition to industry based on fossil fuels, which put its novelists and other writers in the remarkable position of mediating the emergence of extraction-based life.
Miller looks at works like Hard Times, The Mill on the Floss, and Sons and Lovers, showing how the provincial realist novel’s longstanding reliance on marriage and inheritance plots transforms against the backdrop of exhaustion to withhold the promise of reproductive futurity. She explores how adventure stories like Treasure Island and Heart of Darkness reorient fictional space toward the resource frontier.


Migrant movie opens Rome Film Festival

Migrant movie opens Rome Film Festival
Updated 15 October 2021

Migrant movie opens Rome Film Festival

Migrant movie opens Rome Film Festival
  • Moving film tells the story of the Catalan activist who went to the aid of migrants trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos
  • Festival auditorium hosts a photo exhibition dedicated to the situation of the women in Afghanistan today

ROME: The tragedies of migrants risking their lives trying to reach Europe from North Africa and Syria was the focus of the inaugural day at the 16th Rome Film Fest, the annual film review that was opened on Thursday by Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

One of the opening films at the festival was “Mediterraneo,” by Spanish director Marcel Barrena, about the rescue of migrants at sea by the NGO Proactiva Open Arms.

The movie, starring Eduard Fernández, tells the story of the Spanish lifeguard Oscar Camps, the founder of Open Arms.

Moved by the indignation he felt at the photograph of the 3-year-old Syrian boy whose was washed up on a beach in Turkey, Camps decided to rescue immigrants from the sea, operating from the Greek island of Lesbos, a popular tourist destination that hosted a refugee camp where thousands of people lived in unsanitary conditions, subjected to inclement weather and constant anguish.

In 2015 alone, more than 450,000 people passed through Lesbos, an island of just 85,000 inhabitants.

In 2016 Pope Francis visited in Lesbos the refugee camp of Moria, which was later destroyed by a fire. He called on the international community to help “those who risk their lives to find a better future and to escape from war.”

Vatican sources told Arab News that the Pope may go back again to Lesbos “in the near future.” A new refugees camp is being built on the island, completely financed by the European Union.

Barrena told a festival press conference that his film, which has heartbreaking images of the thousands of people risking their lives to escape the war in Syria, is “a cry of protest and pain against Europe’s indifference to the drama of the immigration.”

The 39-year-old director spoke about the challenges of the conditions, filming in the open sea, with real refugees and thousands of extras speaking different languages.

The discovery of hundreds of people floating on the sea, one of the biggest dramas in recent European history, is among the most shocking scenes.

The director explained that his is “not a political film.” “It is about love for human beings. You can’t make a choice between leaving a person to die in the water or saving them. I can’t understand how it is possible that there are people who are not moved by this.”

The main foyeur of the auditorium is hosting “Afghana,” an exhibition of photos shot in the Emergency NGO’s maternity center in Anabah, in the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan.

The pictures by photographer Laura Salvinelli tell the story of the doctors, nurses and patients in this medical facility. There is the smiling face of Zarghona who gave birth to the first son; Kemeya struggling with her fifth caesarean; the Kuchi nomad women during one of their seasonal passages through the Valley; and Asuda who, thanks to the Maternity Center, was able study and train to become a midwife.

 


Stars put on a show at El-Gouna Film Festival’s opening ceremony

Stars put on a show at El-Gouna Film Festival’s opening ceremony
Updated 15 October 2021

Stars put on a show at El-Gouna Film Festival’s opening ceremony

Stars put on a show at El-Gouna Film Festival’s opening ceremony

EL-GOUNA: The fifth edition of El-Gouna Film Festival (GFF) in Egypt kicked off on Thursday, bringing together international filmmakers, producers, actors, industry insiders and cinema enthusiasts who all flocked to the Egyptian resort town for a lavish opening ceremony.

Despite the fire that broke out in the site’s main hall on Wednesday, just a day before the event was scheduled to begin, the show still went on. Organizers managed to reconstruct and repaint the structure that was engulfed in flames in 24-hours.  

Egyptian actress Shereen Reda descended upon the red carpet wearing a luxurious gown from Maison Yeya. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)

Celebrities, including Egyptian actress Shereen Reda and Lebanese singer Maya Diab, descended upon the red carpet wearing luxurious, eye-catching evening gowns to the event that has quicky become one of the most important film festivals in the MENA region.

The opening ceremony, which started at around 10 p.m., featured speeches by Samih Sawiris, founder of GFF, Amr Hanafy, governor of the Red Sea Governorate and Egyptian icon Youssra, who is also a member of GFF’s International Advisory Board.

Lebanese singer Maya Diab wore an eye-catching dress with a giant red hat from Jean-Louis Sabaji. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)

During the ceremony, Egyptian actor Sayed Ragab presented a video that paid tribute to the works of stars and filmmakers who passed away earlier this year, including Samir Ghanem, Dalal Abdel Aziz, Wahid Hamed, Ezzat El-Alaili, Ramses Marzouk, Moufida Tlatli and Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Later on in the evening, Tunisian-Egyptian award-winning actress Hend Sabri introduced GFF’s Career Achievement Award, which was presented to Egyptian actor Ahmed El-Saka, who made a special red carpet appearance with his family.

Egyptian actor Ahmed El-Saka made a special red carpet appearance with his family. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)

The opening day came to a triumphant close with a live performance from Egyptian singer and actor Mohamed Ramadan, who took to the stage to perform his new song “Gaw El Banat,” alongside Moroccan-Swedish record producer RedOne and Amsterdam-born singer Nouamane BelAiachi.  

Also at the star-studded event was Canadian-Lebanese musician Massari, Chilean-Palestinian singer Elyana and Lebanese-Canadian entrepreneur Wassim Slaiby, who manages The Weeknd and founded the record label XO. 

This year, the festival, which launched in 2017, will screen films from countries around the world including France, Germany, Russia, Finland, Australia and more. 

The festival will also show a selection of award-winning Arabic movies from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Tunisia and others. 

Here we have rounded up some of our favorite gowns from the opening night.

Yasmine Sabri wearing Rami Kadi. (AFP)
Mona Zaki wearing Maison Yeya. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)
Dorra Zarrouk wearing Georges Chakra. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)
Yousra wearing Georges Hobeika. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)
Bushra Rozza wearing Michael Cinco. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)
Hend Sabri wearing Fouad Sarkis. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)
Amina Khalil wearing Salma Osman. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)
Laila Elwi. (Arab News/ Hams Saleh)

 


Tbilisi: Cheap and cheerful, but still luxurious

Tbilisi: Cheap and cheerful, but still luxurious
Tbilisi is also a good starting point for day trips around the rest of Georgia. Getty Images
Updated 15 October 2021

Tbilisi: Cheap and cheerful, but still luxurious

Tbilisi: Cheap and cheerful, but still luxurious
  • The Georgian capital and its surrounds offer rich history, stunning views, and hearty food at bargain prices

DUBAI: If you are on the lookout for a city vacation that won’t break the bank, but also won’t force you to compromise on quality, then the Georgian capital of Tbilisi — an urban sprawl nestled in a series of mountains following the route of the Kura River — is well worth a visit.

Its architecture reflects the country’s varied past and its geographical location where East (nearly) meets West. The influence of the latter is as clearly apparent as that of the Russian Empire and the Soviet era with its imposing apartment blocks.

Tbilisi is not a huge city, but you can easily fill a week walking the streets, visiting the various tourist attractions and absorbing its busy, vibrant atmosphere.

The old city of Tblisi. Getty Images

The airport is a short drive from the city center, but beware; there are people, mostly men, wearing black tabard’s emblazoned with the words “Airport taxi.” Make sure you agree a price before starting your ride, otherwise you might find you’re paying up to three times the actual fare.

Despite the airport taxis, though, Tbilisi is highly affordable. Georgia has embraced the European Union but not the Euro and as such remains a place where your wallet will be less strained than in many European countries.

You can stay in one of the many 4-star hotels in the heart of the old city for as little as $300 for four nights — although you can certainly spend more if you want to — and you can eat a hearty meal with beverages for as little as $20. 

View from Zedazeni Mountain. Shutterstock

The concierge at most hotels will help you come up with an itinerary, but be sure to include the Zedazeni Monastery. Located at the top of the Zedazeni mountain, it is one of the country’s oldest and boasts a vast metal cross as well as panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

It’s also worth investing in bus tour of the city. Tickets are valid for 24 hours, and the tour takes in all major tourist attractions.  

A walk around the old town is a must — the narrow streets are lined with historic buildings, first floor balconies overlooking the tree-filled streets; it’s like a scene from an old French market town. Overlooking this idyll is the Mother of Georgia statue. It’s a short-but-steep walk to this monument, and the reward is spectacular views across the city.

 

Mother of Georgia statue. Getty Images

Outside of the old town, the roads are busier and traffic is heavy. It’s not the most pedestrian-friendly place — sidewalks often come to an abrupt end, leaving you with the choice of a quick dash into the road or a sharp U-turn to find a better route.

Another great location for spectacular views is Mtatsminda Park, which can be reached via the Tbilisi Funicular ropeway railway connecting Chonkadze street with the summit, 727 meters above sea level. 

It gets hot in Georgia in the summer and the city’s galleries and museums offer a welcome escape. The National Gallery, on Rustaveli Avenue, is small, but provides an interesting insight into Georgian history. A short distance away is the Georgian Museum of Fine Art, which — apart from its three floors of artworks — also boasts a tremendous café.  

National Art Gallery. Shutterstock

If markets are your thing, set aside some time for the flea market next to the Dry Bridge. It has a wide selection of arts and crafts and is a nice place for a stroll, even if you have no intention of buying anything. Who knows? You might just find that bronze bust of Stalin to add the finishing touch to your guest room.

Tbilisi is also a good starting point for day trips around the rest of Georgia. The country’s third city, Kutaisi, is around three hours away by car, up in the mountains, surrounded by impressive scenery. It’s a far slower-paced city than the capital, with a broad selection of restaurants and cafés in which to while away the time.

Kutaisi. Shutterstock

Georgia is a beautiful country, and a popular destination because it is also remarkably cheap. Remember though, people are paid relative to that level of cost — so be sure to tip generously when eating out. You’ll be able to afford it, and it will make your waiter’s day.