Red Sea Film Festival a ‘breakthrough’ for Arab and international films, says Jack Lang

Red Sea Film Festival a ‘breakthrough’ for Arab and international films, says Jack Lang
Lang said it is an event designed “for Arab cinema” and for international filmmakers to make a breakthrough. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Short Url
Updated 09 December 2021

Red Sea Film Festival a ‘breakthrough’ for Arab and international films, says Jack Lang

Red Sea Film Festival a ‘breakthrough’ for Arab and international films, says Jack Lang
  • According to the Arab World Institute president: ‘A real cultural revolution is underway in Saudi Arabia — it is extraordinary’

JEDDAH: The enthusiasm of Jack Lang, president of the Arab World Institute in Paris, is contagious as he shares his thoughts about the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival with Arab News en Francais.

Lang, who also served as minister of culture in his native France in the 1980s and 90s, said that even two years ago he could not have imagined an international film event such as this taking place in Jeddah.

“It was an absurd idea,” he said and yet now “a real cultural revolution is underway in Saudi Arabia” under the direction of the country’s leaders. “It is extraordinary,” he added. In particular, he praised the role Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan has played.

Since cinemas reopened almost three years ago there has been a major cultural renaissance in the Kingdom on all levels, Lang said. He praised the great developments in arts and culture, particularly in film through the launch of the Red Sea Film Festival, which began on Dec. 6 and continues until Dec. 15. Lang said it is an event designed “for Arab cinema” and for international filmmakers to make a breakthrough.

It is also a sign of the winds of change that have been blowing though Saudi Arabia in the past few years, and this is something that is not lost on Lang.

The authorities in the Kingdom understand that “culture, education, knowledge and science” represent the future, he said, and “a source of happiness as well as human and economic development for citizens.”

Support for culture and the arts, in their various forms, has been a significant driver of the longstanding relationship between France and Saudi Arabia. Lang said he is a member of the consultative council to the Royal Commission for AlUla, and that he appreciates the efforts Saudi authorities are making to preserve, renovate and develop this important historical and cultural site not only for Kingdom but for the entire world.
 


GALLERY

Stars shine at RSIFF on the third night of the film festival


“France is very present (in projects in AlUla) and I, myself, am participating in the development of the splendid site” by helping to organize an exhibition on AlUla, he said. “We plan on making the exhibition international” by taking it to Russia, the US and other countries.

“Here in the Kingdom there is ambition, a vision,” Lang added, as he thanked and congratulated the Saudi authorities for all they have done to develop arts and culture.

“There is a freedom to meet one another and to share” in the Saudi Arabia of today, he said. “I am not saying everything is perfect but I have confidence in humanity and in the ability to invent a new society in Jeddah.”

This story originally appeared in French on Arab News en Francais 


Review: Denzel Washington gives a haunting performance in ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’

Review: Denzel Washington gives a haunting performance in ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’
Denzel Washington stars in ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth.’ Supplied
Updated 18 January 2022

Review: Denzel Washington gives a haunting performance in ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’

Review: Denzel Washington gives a haunting performance in ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’

CHENNAI: “The Tragedy of Macbeth” — directed by Joel Coen, who after 18 films has gone solo without his brother Ethan — takes us to the old world cinematic charm of monochrome frames in 1.19:1 aspect ratio, which was popular the end of the silent era with its nearly perfect square frames. 

One of the most distressing tragedies that Shakespeare penned, Coen's version of Macbeth is the latest in a long line of adaptations. But the latest one on Apple TV+ sticks to Shakespearean original, though Coen, who also wrote the screenplay, has trimmed it to a comfortable 103 minutes that has every chance of appealing to even those who may not be among the Bard’s most ardent admirers. 

Coen's version of Macbeth is the latest in a long line of adaptations. Supplied

The brilliant conceptualization — with starkly powerful photography by Bruno Delbonnel and scintillating performances by its leads, Denzel Washington as Macbeth and Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth — takes the film visually and narratively to an exhilarating high. Mostly shot indoors, the sparse frames are richly engrossing and tell us a classic story that many of us will be familiar with. The imaginative camera placements create an overall experience that is as appealing as it is disturbing and destructive.

he imaginative camera placements create an overall experience that is as appealing as it is disturbing and destructive. Supplied

Unfolding sometimes against white foggy landscapes with the frightening cawing of black birds, we see the movie open with Macbeth returning victorious from war with Ireland and Norway and meeting a witch who prophesies that he will become the Thane of Cawdor and later the King of Scotland, thus planting a foreboding thought in his head. But when King Duncan (Brendan Gleeson) proclaims that his son, Malcolm (Harry Melling), will succeed him on the throne, we see a faint but unmistakable trace of disappointment, pain and anger in Macbeth, portrayed with haunting intensity. Lady Macbeth nudges him to murder the king, and as he walks along a never-ending corridor with a sword beckoning him, we know that a tragedy will eventually be their undoing. 

McDormand, while arresting as a woman who drives her husband toward doom and death, was, I felt, not as   intense as she was in “Fargo” or “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”


Bella Hadid dons statement ‘Palestine’ jewelry

Bella Hadid dons statement ‘Palestine’ jewelry
Chvker Jewelry created a set of custom-made necklaces for Hadid. Instagram
Updated 18 January 2022

Bella Hadid dons statement ‘Palestine’ jewelry

Bella Hadid dons statement ‘Palestine’ jewelry

DUBAI: Bella Hadid is proud to be Palestinian — the part-Arab model, who was born to US-Palestinian real estate developer Mohamed Hadid and Dutch reality television star Yolanda Hadid, often declares her love for her heritage. When she is not using her platform to raise awareness about pressing humanitarian issues in Palestine, the 25-year-old can be found rolling grape leaves and stuffing whole vegetables to make dolma with her father and older sisters on Instagram Stories. This week the catwalker decided to sartorially embrace her roots and let her jewelry do all the talking by stepping out wearing a Chvker Jewelry necklace bearing the text “Palestine,” custom made by the brand’s designer Nazlia Yunus.

Hadid stepped out in West Hollywood for media artist Alana O'Herlihy’s birthday celebrations at The Nice Guy restaurant. For the occasion, the model wore a brown, backless halter dress with an asymmetrical hemline and a pair of white knee-high leather boots. She accessorized the look, which features a plunging neckline, with a gold Palestine necklace, which she paired with a nameplate “Isabella” chain, also from Chvker Jewelry.

The designer revealed that Hadid has asked her to create about eight customized necklaces for her, including “Pizza Queen,” “Libra Angel,” “Hellz Bellz,” “Baby Bellz,” “Bella Hadid” and “Khair,” which is her middle name.

Uzbekistan-born Yunus immigrated to Texas, where she went on to study psychology at Blinn College. Keen to escape the mundaneness of exams and papers, the 25-year-old decided to pursue her first passion, jewelry making. Yunus began by making chokers on online marketplace Etsy, before opening a store on Shopify, where she sold necklaces and earrings.

The jewelry was an instant hit. It wasn’t long before influencers and It-Girls on Instagram took to the photo-sharing platform to showcase Chvker’s playful gold vermeil-plated sterling silver jewelry in the form of heart-shaped hoop earrings, butterfly-emblazoned chokers and evil eye anklets.

Hadid is the latest celebrity to don Chvker’s pieces. Everyone from British actress Millie Bobby Brown and “Euphoria” star Alexa Demie to beauty mogul Kylie Jenner and her three-year-old daughter Stormi have been spotted wearing Yunus’s delicate, handmade designs.


Marvel releases trailer for Mohamed Diab-directed series ‘Moon Knight’

Marvel releases trailer for Mohamed Diab-directed series ‘Moon Knight’
Updated 18 January 2022

Marvel releases trailer for Mohamed Diab-directed series ‘Moon Knight’

Marvel releases trailer for Mohamed Diab-directed series ‘Moon Knight’

DUBAI: Marvel unveiled this week the trailer and release date for its upcoming series “Moon Knight,” directed by Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab. 

The show, in which actor Oscar Isaac stars as a superhero, will premiere on Disney+ on March 30.

Isaac plays the role of an ex-soldier, Marc Spector, who suffers from sleeping disorder. 

“I can’t tell the difference between my waking life and my dreams,” says the character in the trailer. 

The teaser shows that Spector also has an identity disorder, where at times he thinks he is another man named Steven.

After visiting a museum on ancient Egypt, he sees a vision of the Egyptian moon deity Khonshu and becomes his conduit. Spector then meets the villain, played by actor Ethan Hawke, who encourages him to embrace the darkness within himself.

Diab gave us gripping works like “Cairo 678,” “Clash” and most recently “Amira,” which screened at the Venice Film Festival in 2021, the El Gouna Film Festival and the MedFilm Festival in Rome, where it scooped up multiple prizes. 

“Moon Knight” also stars Bahrain-born actress May Calamawy, who acts in “Ramy,” the award-winning comedy series who’s lead character is Egyptian-American actor Ramy Youssef. 


Record-breaking 555.55 carat black diamond unveiled at Sotheby’s Dubai

Record-breaking 555.55 carat black diamond unveiled at Sotheby’s Dubai
Updated 17 January 2022

Record-breaking 555.55 carat black diamond unveiled at Sotheby’s Dubai

Record-breaking 555.55 carat black diamond unveiled at Sotheby’s Dubai

DUBAI: Gemstone collectors now have the chance to own the largest cut diamond in the world. Titled the “The Enigma,” the Guinness World Record-breaking rare black diamond made its public debut at Sotheby’s Dubai on Jan. 17, where it will remain on show until Jan. 20. Weighing in at a whopping 555.55 carats, the unique jewel will be on view at the Dubai Diamond Exchange, before making its way to Los Angeles and London, where it will be opened to bidding online from Feb. 3-9.

The carbonado black diamond is an extremely rare natural occurrence. Dating back to 2.6 to 3.8 billion years ago, they are said to have been formed from a meteoric impact or from a diamond-bearing asteroid that collided with Earth. It contains traces of nitrogen and hydrogen abundant in space, as well as osbornite, a mineral uniquely present in meteors.

In addition to its record-breaking size, the jewel is imbued with numerical significance. It’s shape is inspired by the Middle Eastern palm-shaped symbol, the Hamsa – a symbol of protection from the “evil eye.” The Hamsa is associated with the number five, and the diamond is not only 555.55 carats in size, but it also contains exactly 55 facets.

“We are honored that Dubai has been chosen as the first stop for this exceptional rarity and are thrilled to play a part in its journey, which began so many millions of years ago,” said Katia Nounou Boueiz, Head of Sotheby’s UAE, in a released statement.

The diamond will be available to purchase with cryptocurrency, a first in the UAE.

“This is the first time we are introducing our cryptocurrency offering in the UAE, a move that is in line with the government’s own commitment to exploring new digital, technological and scientific advances. Unveiling this one-of-a-kind stone - both in our DIFC gallery and at the unparalleled Dubai Diamond Exchange - is a clear continuation of our dedication to showcasing the best of the best in the UAE,” added Boueiz.

“The Enigma” is previously unseen on the market and has never been exhibited to the public before.


A taste of what’s to come: What food trends can we expect in 2022?

A taste of what’s to come: What food trends can we expect in 2022?
Updated 17 January 2022

A taste of what’s to come: What food trends can we expect in 2022?

A taste of what’s to come: What food trends can we expect in 2022?

DUBAI: Entrepreneurs and husband and wife duo Luma Makhlouf and Haider Al-Assam are the founders of Dubai’s hugely popular Maiz Tacos and Good Burger. Here, Makhlouf pens her thoughts on the food trends we can expect to see in the region in 2022.

Coming off the back of a challenging year largely centered around the pandemic, we are declaring 2022 the year of health and rebuilding.  Looking forward, food trends will incorporate a return to local produce, entertaining and sustainable food practices.

 Luma Makhlouf. Supplied 

Homegrown produce

More than ever before, consumers are focusing on their health and are looking to strengthen their immune system, making fresh local produce their preferred choice. What used to be an industry that knew no borders, the pandemic meant importing food became more expensive and less timely. Returning to basics, consumers will choose organic, local produce and clean ingredients. Post pandemic, some of the most successful brands are the homegrown ones that built up their resilience under tough conditions. Local suppliers offering authentic “farm to fork” produce will resonate with consumers seeking to focus on their health.

Return to entertaining

As people start to celebrate events they missed out on during the pandemic, catering demand is set to increase. Consumers are looking to create new, out of the box experiences and are therefore seeking tailored, personalized catering solutions. We are seeing increased corporate marketing budgets as demand for events such as product launches increase in line with the reduction of pandemic restrictions.

Sustainability

Photo: Getty Images

Consumers are increasingly choosing sustainable produce as they become more aware of their carbon footprint and the impact of their choices. As the population increases, so too will food production. Aquaculture and hydroponic farming are two aspects that will help the UAE in particular create a more sustainable food industry, and consumers will favor the health benefits of fresher, healthier produce. An increase in plant-based diets means consumers’ choices will be less taxing on the environment and they will be looking for ethical, sustainable ingredients that can help them achieve their health goals.

The increase in demand for healthy, nutritious and sustainably sourced foods will shape the food industry this year. Consumers will look for foods and catering options with nutritional benefits as healthy eating becomes mainstream and entertaining with our loved ones finally returns.