DUBAI: The International Prize for Arabic Fiction has announced the 16 longlisted authors competing to receive a $50,000 award when the winner is revealed in May.
Among the authors in contention for the 2022 award are Emirati author Reem Alkamali, Egyptian novelist Ezzedine Choukri Fishere, Eritrean writer Hajji Jabir, Nizar Aghri from Syria, Algerian novelist Boumediene Belkebir, Syrian author Yaa’rab Al-Eissa and Egyptian writer Tarek Imam.
Also competing for the prize are authors Bushra Khalfan from Oman, Morocco’s Mohsine Loukili, Khaled Nasrallah from Kuwait, Mohammed Al-Nu’as from Libya and Algerian Rouchdi Redouane.
Rounding out the longlist is Kuwaiti author Mona Al-Shammari, Syrian novelist Dima Al-Shukr and Egyptian writers Mohamed Tawfik and Belal Fadl.
Five judges, which include Tunisian novelist and previous IPAF winner Shukri Mabkhout and Libyan doctor, poet and translator Ashur Etwebi, chose the list from among 122 entries from nine countries across the Arab world.
Out of the 16 novels, six will be shortlisted with the titles revealed in March. All six shortlisted authors will receive $10,000 each.
Jordanian writer Jalal Barjas won the prize last year for his work “Notebooks of the Bookseller,” announced at an online ceremony in May. In addition to the $50,000 prize, the author also received funding toward securing an English translation of his novel.
CANNES: The debut screening of Pakistan’s first entry to the Cannes Film Festival felt like “a dream has come true,” one of its stars, Sarwat Gilani, said after the film received a prolonged standing ovation.
The movie, “Joyland,” seeks to break gender stereotypes in the country.
“It felt like the hard work that people do, the struggles that we face as artists in Pakistan, they’ve all come to be worth it,” Gilani told Reuters this week.
Gilani, a film and TV starplay, plays Nucchi in “Joyland,” which competes in the “Un Certain Regard” section, a competition focused on more art-house films that runs parallel to the main “Palme d’Or” prize.
Nucchi belongs to a household that has long hoped for the birth of a son to continue the family line, with the consecutive birth of her three daughters not enough to please her conservative father-in-law.
And her brother-in-law Haider secretly falls in love with a transgender woman Biba, who fights for her right to work as a performer.
“Joyland” also explores the frustration of women seeking to pursue a profession, when Haider’s wife Mumtaz falls into a depression for being forced to stay at home and do household chores and stop working as a make-up artist.
“It’s not just about a love story anymore. It’s about real-time issues, real life issues that we all go through,” Gilani said.
She said she hoped Pakistani movie-goers and critics would give “Joyland” as warm a reception as it received in Cannes.
“I’m very positive that at least our people will understand that this is also a kind of cinema that can be successful. If worldwide, then why not locally, nationally,” she said.
The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 17 to 28, with the prizes awarded on the last day.
Saudi-Lebanese designer Talal Hizami takes us back to school with latest collection
Updated 25 May 2022
DUBAI: Fashion lovers can expect a heavy dose of nostalgia with Saudi-Lebanese-Palestinian designer Talal Hizami’s latest collection, which he released as part of his ready-to-wear menswear brand Pacifism.
His high-school-inspired offering “Alma Mater” is a sartorial tribute to the London-born creative’s educational background and is in line with fashion’s ongoing obsession with looking back.
“It’s always important for me to try to depict very vivid stories of nostalgia through my collections and my shoots,” he said.
Y2K nostalgia is currently a huge trend in Western fashion, much of it driven by a new generation of designers who came of age in the 2000s. Hizami, who turned 29 in February, made a show of it in the lookbook for “Alma Mater,” which was shot by Iraqi-Canadian photographer Cheb Moha against the backdrop of school lockers.
When it comes to the clothing, the designer transports us back to school with his clever take on looks you might find the average high school student wearing in a school hallway. To start, the designer reinvents the varsity jacket, a symbol of US school jocks, by his utilization of Japanese nylon fabric.
There are also casual t-shirts bearing fictional school mascots. At Pacifism University, a bird wearing a maroon knit serves as the symbol for the college team’s Peaceful Doves. The word dove is also used to describe someone who advocates for peace, or in other words a pacifist.
The sporty vibe is dialed up with ultra-cozy terry cloth shorts and high socks.
Having studied in both the English and US school curriculum, Hizami wanted to merge all the experiences and essence of his emotions during his formative school years.
In addition to the Ivy League hopefuls and jocks, Hizami’s new collection offers the full high school experience with pieces aimed at the science aficionados and preppy crowd. Oversized coats are emblazoned with a periodic table-inspired print on the back that spells out “Pacifism” while school uniforms get a streetwear spin in the form of loose black slacks and button-up polo shirts.
But perhaps nothing screams nostalgia more than the collared rugby shirts. Big in the mid-80s, rugby-stripe pullovers have made a huge resurgence, showing up in the collections of J. Crew, Alexander Wang, Koche, and now, Pacifism.
“This collection is fitting, in particular for me, because I wasn’t very good at writing stories in school so this is a way in which I find it comfortable to story-tell,” said the designer, who founded his brand in 2019 and made his London Fashion Week debut a year later.
The collection is set to release via two drops at the end of the month online on Pacifism’s website and select e-tailers.
Saudi deputy culture minister assures Kingdom’s film industry of ‘brilliant future’ as he visits pavilion at Cannes
Hollywood director Brett Ratner reveals plans to visit Saudi Arabia to scout for shoot locations
Updated 25 May 2022
CANNES: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Culture Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez visited the Kingdom’s pavilion during the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, to show his support for the burgeoning Saudi film industry.
“Our role is to support the sector with everyone in it. God willing, we will see success soon. Thank you everyone and I wish you a happy opportunity,” he said to a crowd of Saudi and international actors as well as filmmakers who had gathered at the pavilion.
The deputy minister was accompanied by Red Sea Film Festival Foundation CEO Mohammed Al-Turki, Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf and US director Brett Ratner, the face behind such hits as the “Rush Hour” film series and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Ratner also produced the “Horrible Bosses” film series, “The Revenant” and “War Dogs.”
The deputy minister praised the work being done by Saudi creatives in the Kingdom and their contribution to the expanding industry, before touring the pavilion and meeting with select industry professionals.
Following his tour, Fayez addressed the press and Saudi creatives directly, saying: “You will have a brilliant future and we are ready, present and supportive of you.
“With regional programs that will come together, there will be great opportunities for filmmakers, actors, actors and actresses,” he added.
For his part, Ratner teased a big announcement, before saying that the details were being kept under wraps.
However, he did reveal plans to visit Saudi Arabia in order to scout for shoot locations.
“I am very excited to come to your beautiful country to film. I am going to come next week with his royal highness and friends and I am going to scout the whole country,” the producer said.
“The film is going to be unbelievable. We will be able to create a big buzz,” he added.
Saint Laurent to reportedly present menswear show in Morocco
Updated 24 May 2022
DUBAI: Parisian luxury label Saint Laurent is reportedly set to present its spring 2023 menswear collection in Marrakesh on July 15, according to multiple reports.
Morocco was a great source of inspiration to the late Yves Saint Laurent, and a museum dedicated to the famed fashion designer was even unveiled in Marrakesh in 2017.
The legendary couturier purchased a villa in the Moroccan city in the mid-1960s and two decades later purchased the spectacular Majorelle Gardens to save it from destruction. A mausoleum was built for the designer at the site after his death in 2008.
His years there inspired many of his collections and continue to influence the storied house that bears his name.
Although it will be the first physical show that Saint Laurent will stage in the North African country, it isn’t the first time that the brand has showcased one of its collections in Morocco.
In 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and when all brands shifted to the digital world, artistic, creative and image director of Saint Laurent Anthony Vaccarello unveiled a 10-minute-long video for the spring 2021 ready-to-wear line with models seen walking on dunes in the Moroccan desert in lieu of a runway.
The men’s show in Marrakech will coincide with an exhibition focused on Saint Laurent’s longstanding relationship with Morocco. Entitled “Love,” the exhibition will run from June 5-Oct. 31 at Palácio Duques de Cadaval in Évora, Portugal.
Saudi pavilion hosts Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman at Cannes Film Festival
Updated 24 May 2022
DUBAI: Oscar-winning Indian composer A. R. Rahman jetted to Cannes this week to attend the 75th edition of the city’s renowned film festival.
Besides walking the red carpet and attending film premieres, the singer and songwriter was spotted at the Saudi pavilion where he was welcomed with Saudi coffee.
“Taking pride in the Kingdom’s legacy of generosity, Saudi coffee is being prepared at the Cannes Film Festival,” the Ministry of Culture in Saudi Arabia shared on Twitter, adding images of Rahman at the Saudi pavilion.
Saudi coffee is heavily associated with generational hospitality and generosity, providing a close connection to the country’s customs and traditions.
In January, the Ministry of Commerce announced that the commercial name of Arabic coffee will be officially changed to Saudi coffee in the Kingdom’s restaurants, cafes, stores and roasters.
The announcement, by ministry spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Hussein, is in conjunction with a Culture Ministry initiative in naming 2022 as the “Year of Saudi Coffee” as a way to strengthen the identity and culture of Saudi Arabia.
The record producer was spotted on the red carpet during Cannes Film Festival opening ceremony. He attended the premiere of French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius’s zombie comedy “Final Cut (Coupez!)”