Tunisia to host world premier of film about Sicilian immigration

Special Tunisia to host world premier of film about Sicilian immigration
‘Siciliens d’Afrique. Tunisie Terre Promise’ is a film about the history of Sicilian emigration to Tunisia in the 19th and 20th centuries. (Twitter Photo)
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Updated 14 February 2022

Tunisia to host world premier of film about Sicilian immigration

Tunisia to host world premier of film about Sicilian immigration
  • The community has been intergrated in the North African country for centuries
  • Director: ‘I tried to tell a history common of Tunisia, Italy and France, which deserves to be known’

ROME: The world premier of “Siciliens d’Afrique. Tunisie Terre Promise,” a film about the history of Sicilian emigration to Tunisia in the 19th and 20th centuries, will take place in the North African country on Thursday.

It will be presented by the Italian Cultural Institute at the cinema Mad’Art of Carthage. Sicilians make up the largest component of the Italian community in Tunisia, and have been integrated in society for centuries.

An Italian-Tunisian co-production, the movie also highlights the language spoken by the Sicilian community in Tunisia, called Siculo-Tounsi. It is a mixture of Sicilian, Tunisian Arabic, French and Maltese.

Director Marcello Bivona, a Sicilian from Tunisia, left the country at the age of 3 in 1956 after its independence from France. He settled in the Italian city of Milan with his family, but remained attached to his country of origin.

“I wanted this movie to be testimony to aspects of Italian emigration to Tunisia, some of which are still neglected,” said Bivona. “I tried to tell a history common of Tunisia, Italy and France, which deserves to be known.”

In the 1950s, 90 percent of the Italian community in Tunisia were Sicilian, such as the great Italian actress Claudia Cardinale, who was born in Tunis in 1938.

She starred in several acclaimed European films in the 1960s and 1970s. She acted in Italian, French and English-language movies, including “The Pink Panther.” Her daughter Claudia Cardinale Squitieri stars in “Siciliens d’Afrique. Tunisie Terre Promise.”


Model Bella Hadid talks starring in upcoming ‘Ramy’ show 

 Model Bella Hadid talks starring in upcoming ‘Ramy’ show 
Updated 17 August 2022

Model Bella Hadid talks starring in upcoming ‘Ramy’ show 

 Model Bella Hadid talks starring in upcoming ‘Ramy’ show 

DUBAI: Palestinian Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid this week opened up about starring in the third season of Hulu’s “Ramy.”

The Emmy-nominated show, starring comedian Ramy Youssef, is about an Egyptian-American living in New Jersey who is determined to become a better Muslim as he grows into an adult, often stumbling along the way.

In an interview with GQ Magazine, Hadid, who stars as a “weirdo girlfriend,” recalled moments on set that made her heart full. On the first day, the crew surprised her with a shirt that stated: “Free Palestine.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

“I couldn’t handle my emotions,” Hadid said. “Growing up and being Arab, it was the first time that I’d ever been with like-minded people. I was able to see myself.”

Youssef and Hadid first connected when the Golden Globe winner emailed the runway star and asked if she would be interested to guest star in the show. After a long Zoom conversation, Hadid agreed.

“I was like, this is perfect,” Hadid said. “We hadn’t even met before, but I had a feeling it was going to be kismet.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

The catwalk star, who has always been vocal about her support for Palestine, said that her friendship with Youssef grew stronger during the show.

“There was one time where Ramy came over during Ramadan and allowed me to pray with him,” she told the publication. “And it was one of the most beautiful moments of my adult life.”

Hadid, who was born in Washington, D.C., said her family relocated to California when she was a toddler. “I was with my Palestinian side (of the family in D.C.),” she said.

The relocation was not easy for her, she said.

“I would have loved to grow up and be with my dad every day and studying and really being able to practice, just in general being able to live in a Muslim culture,” she said. “But I wasn’t given that.”

“I speak about (this stuff) for the elderly that are still living there that have never been able to see Palestine free, and for the children that can still grow up and have a beautiful life,” she added. 


REVIEW: ‘Five Days at Memorial’ replicates the horrors of Hurricane Katrina

REVIEW: ‘Five Days at Memorial’ replicates the horrors of Hurricane Katrina
Updated 17 August 2022

REVIEW: ‘Five Days at Memorial’ replicates the horrors of Hurricane Katrina

REVIEW: ‘Five Days at Memorial’ replicates the horrors of Hurricane Katrina

CHENNAI: Apple+ TV’s limited series “Five Days at Memorial” sets out to capture a natural calamity in its stark reality. Adapted from Sheri Fink’s “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital,” a retelling of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in late 2005, the TV version is a brutal but compelling watch. It is brought out most poignantly in a scene where we see an elderly patient watching the raging storm from a window at the Memorial Medical Centre.

Created by John Ridley, writer of “12 Years a Slave,” and “Lost” showrunner Carlton Cuse, the series brings drama without overly exaggerating, along with a near-perfect recreation of the hospital that becomes a character in itself. Real footage is seamlessly woven into scenes, with the first five chapters devoted to the first five days of the catastrophic event that left 45 patients dead.

Dr Anna Pou is portrayed by the excellent Vera Farmiga, who puts in a powerful performance standing watching the hurricane batter the bridge between two segments of the facility. Then there is the nerve-wracking dilemma as a daughter (Raven Dauda) is forced to abandon her critically ill mother, nurse Diane Robichaux (Julie Ann Emery). A deep sense of heartrending misery and utter helplessness pervades just about every frame.

As “Five Days at Memorial” begins, we see local residents trooping inside the facility to join patients and staff — standard procedure, as the building had withstood many storms in its 80 years. But in this case, the hurricane smashed glass panes and wrenched chunks of iron, leaving little respite. The hurricane passes, but levees then collapse, flooding the city. With the problems mounting, the hospital’s incident commander, Susan Mulderick (Cherry Jones), discovers that the building’s bulky manual says nothing about evacuation protocols in case of floods. With elevators out of operation, doctors and others carry patients to the rooftop helipad.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The last few episodes focus on the investigation into the controversial decision to euthanize terminally-ill patients, and explore the meaning of care and compassion. But what stands out is the failure of the administration, the Federal Management Agency, and all those who had the power to intervene to avoid the disaster.


US artist Grimanesa Amorós to present light installation in Riyadh 

US artist Grimanesa Amorós to present light installation in Riyadh 
Updated 16 August 2022

US artist Grimanesa Amorós to present light installation in Riyadh 

US artist Grimanesa Amorós to present light installation in Riyadh 

DUBAI: US artist Grimanesa Amorós, famous as the Light Sculptor, is bringing her work to Riyadh. 

The Peruvian-born visual artist will present her latest monumental art installation titled “Scientia” in the Diplomatic Quarter Cultural Palace at the Noor Riyadh festival from Nov. 3 to 19.

The installation is titled ‘Scientia.’ (Supplied)

The installation addresses fundamental questions about the impact of a rapidly shifting environment on the mental, psychological and emotional well-being of individuals living in fast-paced, modern societies.

Her light sculpture was previously showcased at the Azkuna Zentroa Center of Society and Contemporary Culture in Bilbao, Spain.

Amorós, famous for her large-scale light sculpture installations, explores human emotions and connections to the social environment using an elemental understanding of the world involving nature’s basic elements: fire, water, earth and light.

The artist has exhibited her work in multiple locations around the world including Mexico, Beijing and New York City.


Finance for new Saudi filmmakers announced by Red Sea Fund

Finance for new Saudi filmmakers announced by Red Sea Fund
Updated 16 August 2022

Finance for new Saudi filmmakers announced by Red Sea Fund

Finance for new Saudi filmmakers announced by Red Sea Fund
  • Winning ‘Lithium’ movie tackles bipolar disorder
  • Over $100,000 set aside for 23 individual MENA projects

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s support for the film industry continues with the Red Sea Fund’s announcement of its second-cycle winners, which will mean financial resources to bring their projects to fruition.

The fund, administered by the Red Sea Film Foundation, has allocated about $100,000 for 23 individual projects that will cover production, distribution and screening.

The aim is to provide a more diverse set of movies to global audiences and better serve both Saudi and Arab filmmakers.

“It means a great deal to us that the Red Sea Fund believes in this story enough to fund it. It’s both an honor and a responsibility,” Saudi filmmaker Talha B. told Arab News. He will be co-directing the winning project “Lithium” along with fellow creative Amro B.

The feature film tackles the subject of bipolar disorder and the silent suffering of individuals with mental health issues in the Arab region.

“It is a great responsibility to present this subject in a positive yet honest way, and we intend to do it the justice it deserves … It tackles a subject that we rarely admit we have in our society. We hope that more bold stories like this are told candidly because, like physical health, mental health too matters,” Talha said.

The film is currently in development and is set to premiere at the 2023/2024 Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah.

The rest of the 23 selections include shorts, documentaries, animated films and documentaries, with five submitted from Africa, 11 from the Arab region, and seven by Saudi directors.

The aim is to support young and ambitious filmmakers to carve a niche for themselves in the industry.

“It’s very fresh and exciting witnessing the great things Red Sea films are achieving and presenting to the filmmakers in Saudi Arabia and the world. The funded films speak a lot about the amount of understanding for both the creative process and the craftsmanship behind the walls of their visionary team and their out-of-the-box thinking,” Anas BaTahaf, the filmmaker and upcoming producer of the selected film “Hayat Yousef,” told Arab News.

BaTahaf is teaming up with long-time collaborator Sarah Taibah who will be joining as a screenwriter on the upcoming project that features meaningful character arcs, quirkiness, blended-genres, and “high voltage” absurdity, all packed within a contemporary dark romcom.

“Taibah’s knowledge and thorough understanding of romance — from her various art projects on studying love as a feeling and theme during a wide range of art residencies around the world — is another quality that grants her my full trust when it comes to telling this story,” BaTahaf said.

The aim to tell unconventional stories is the reason for the selection of “Red Eye,” set to be directed by filmmaker Mohammad Jastaniah.

“After so many trials, errors, and rejections it’s nice to see once again that persistence pays off, let alone being supported by the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation — a place I call home. It feels special,” Jastaniah told Arab News.

The film is an “allegory” for the artist’s experience in Saudi, he said. “Red Eye” follows the story of a man navigating the stigma of being a rock star, fighting his own demons, and dealing with his relationship with his father.

“It speaks for those who stand out in the crowd, and there are so many of us out there, especially in these exciting times of change happening in the Kingdom. Pinch me because it feels like a dream,” Jastaniah said.

“I am very excited for our film and all the other films that won (backing) … Local filmmakers deserve all the praise and support,” said BaTahaf.

He said he was looking forward to his friends seeing the “great” films that were made.


Hollywood star Angelina Jolie speaks up for women in Afghanistan

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie speaks up for women in Afghanistan
Updated 16 August 2022

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie speaks up for women in Afghanistan

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie speaks up for women in Afghanistan

DUBAI: Hollywood star and humanitarian Angelina Jolie this week honored women in Afghanistan, “one year after the fall of the government.”

The 47-year-old actress shared on Instagram an op-ed she wrote for TIME and said: “It cannot end here.”

In the article, the Oscar winner said: “The daughters of Afghanistan are extraordinary for their strength, resilience, and resourcefulness.”

The actress said that one year ago, Afghan women worked in all fields — being doctors, teachers, police officers and politicians.

“To my Afghan friends, I have faith in you and your resilience and your strength,” wrote Jolie. “I dream of visiting with my daughters, making friends, traveling around your beautiful country, and seeing you free to determine your own future … I know it’s possible. This does not end here.”