JEDDAH: The pop fusion music group Clean Bandit will thrill fans in Jeddah with an evening of hits at the post-race concert on Sunday March 27 to close the second successive Formula One race weekend for the Saudi Grand Prix.
The British band will headline the concert series alongside multi-award-winning DJ and producer, R3HAB, to add to a superstar line-up that will keep fans’ adrenaline flowing long into the Jeddah night after the world’s greatest drivers have crossed the finish line.
The concert will take place on the main stage of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, F1’s newest, longest and fastest street circuit, right after the Grand Prix has concluded.
Clean Bandit, one of the biggest names in pop music, have scored four UK No.1 hits, won a Grammy award, and collaborated with a star-studded list of artists including Lizzo, Sean Paul, Ellie Goulding, Mabel and Demi Lovato.
They recently received two Brit Award nominations for their 2018 smash “Solo” featuring Lovato, which became their fourth UK chart-topper. The band have now notched up nine UK top five singles, more than Bruno Mars or Adele.
On March 26, DJ Axwell will perform after the qualifying session has ended, guaranteeing a world class weekend of live racing action and entertainment for all fans.
The Saudi Motorsport Co., the promoter of the Saudi Grand Prix, confirmed that fans will also be able to see the F2 and Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East support series, while entertainment activities, fan festivals, and live concerts will also take place across the circuit and F1 fan zone all weekend.
Cinematic history in the making as Red Sea International Film Festival rolls out the red carpet
Updated 01 December 2022
Ameera Abid and Lynn Tehini
JEDDAH: Hollywood, Bollywood and Arab stars hit the red carpet at the opening ceremony of the Red Sea International Film Festival on Thursday, kicking off 10 days of glitz and glamor.
US actress Sharon Stone, British director Guy Ritchie, US icon Oliver Stone, Lebanese director Nadine Labaki and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan all appeared at the event, as did Egyptian icon Yousra, Indian composer A.R. Rahman and Bollywood star Kajol.
They were joined on the red carpet by actress Priyanka Chopra, Egyptian Montenegrin actress Tara Emad, Saudi actress Mila Al-Zahrani and Egyptian star Salma Abu-Deif, as well as Lebanese celebrity designer Zuhair Murad and Lebanese singer Maya Diab.
Shah Rukh Khan was on hand to receive an honorary award for his contributions to the film industry.
This year, the festival is being held in The Ritz-Carlton hotel overlooking the picturesque Jeddah Waterfront. Filmmakers, actors, directors, and the cohort of professionals who keep the wheels of the cinematic industry turning all came together for a sparkling night.
Mohamed Diab, an Egyptian screenwriter and the director behind Marvel’s “Moon Knight,” spoke to Arab News on the red carpet about the importance of the festival.
“This is a light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of people. I think for young film makers having something outside the commercial aspect of film making (is important). If you are Saudi or Egyptian and you do something commercial you can make it but if there is something international or a passion project that you believe in that is not something you can get funding (for) easily, I think there is opportunity for you here.”
He also spoke about 2022’s “Moon Knight,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Arab story.
“I saw how it inspired the Arab youth so I want to repeat that again. I am opening so many doors and I am very happy about that,” he said.
Saudi Director and actor Ibrahim Al Hajjaj, who has two films screening at the festival this year, said: “I’m really happy to be here, super excited that I have two movies in this edition. I am excited and I hope people do like the film,” he said of “Sattar” and “Khallat Plus.”
For her part, Indian actress Shabana Azmi shared her excitement about the festival’s opening film, “What Has Love Got To Do With It?”
“It’s a huge honor and I am very excited, and I had never known or dreamt that such a day would arrive and that’s why it is very exciting and I do hope people love the film as much as we were excited making it.”
“We have very great actors and directors and that is why I hope tomorrow’s cinema will be all encompassing, all embracing, all inclusive, we no longer can live in the divide between the West and the East. We need to become a global village and art is the way you can do it,” she added.
This year’s theme is “Film Is Everything,” which celebrates movies not just as means of entertainment but as a tool that brings cultures together, allows young creatives to express themselves, and gives people the opportunity to grow.
The festival is divided into 11 sections designed to showcase Arab and international cinema, as well as television and VR. The sections include Competition, Shorts Competition, New Saudi, International Spectacular, Arab Spectacular, Festival Favorites, Virtual Reality, Treasures, Families and Children, New Vision, and Series.
The festival is set to showcase 131 feature films and shorts from 61 countries, in 41 languages, made by established and emerging talents. Seven feature films and 24 shorts from Saudi Arabia will also be shown.
Must-see movies from the Arab world at the 2022 Red Sea International Film Festival
Updated 01 December 2022
DUBAI: Here are just a few of the features from Arab filmmakers showing at this week’s Red Sea International Film Festival, which runs from Dec. 1-10 in Jeddah.
‘A Gaza Weekend’
Director: Basil Khalil
Cast: Stephen Mangan, Loai Noufi, Mouna Hawa, Adam Bakri
British-Palestinian filmmaker Basil Khalil’s debut feature has been eagerly awaited by cinema lovers following the success of his smart, satirical short “Ave Maria,” which was nominated for an Oscar in 2016. Judging by early reviews, Khalil has delivered. The film is set during a viral pandemic unleashed on Israel after a security lapse at an infectious-disease lab, but was reportedly in development before COVID-19 brought unwelcome topicality to the subject. Michael, an English journalist, is trapped in the country, but is offered an escape route into Gaza — ironically now the safest place in the area, as no one can officially get in or out — by two Palestinians, Waleed and Emad, who are aspiring, though untalented, people smugglers. But Michael refuses to leave without his girlfriend, the uptight Keren. That complicates things, since Keren is an Israeli whose presence could get them all killed. While the couple hide in Waleed’s basement, Keren’s incessant complaining drives Waleed’s wife Nuhad — clearly smarter than her bumbling husband — to assist their escape, against her better judgment, all while evading the scrutiny of Hamas.
Director: Mohammed Al-Salman
Cast: Asem Alawad, Ibrahim Khairallah, Abdullah Aljafal
Al-Salman’s debut feature has been selected as Saudi Arabia’s entry to next year’s Oscars. It’s a comedy-drama about 30-year-old Nasser — a young man who feels his life is drifting and who struggles to connect with his father. But when Nasser is diagnosed with a brain tumor, and scheduled to undergo a potentially fatal operation, he finds new purpose — particularly when he becomes enthralled by a beautiful but mysterious woman. Determined to win her heart, he turns to his friends for advice. That advice is generally terrible, but Nasser accepts a challenge to woo her by singing her a love poem.
Director: Soudade Kaadan
Cast: Kinda Alloush, Hala Zein, Samer Al-Masri, Nizar Alani
The acclaimed Syrian filmmaker’s latest feature picked up the Audience Award at the Venice Film Festival for its moving portrayal of a 14-year-old girl and her family torn between leaving their home in Damascus and becoming refugees, or staying where they ‘belong’ (as Zeina’s father Motaz argues). Zeina’s mother is concerned not only about the family’s physical safety, but also the prospect of Zeina being married off to a soldier. The family’s worries only increase when a missile rips a hole in their roof, but when a rope is mysteriously lowered into the hole, Zeina is introduced to a world of new possibilities. “Most of the refugee films about Syria were either trying to present us as victims or heroes, in a black-and-white narrative,” Kaadan said in promotional material for the movie. “But of course, we are neither one nor the other, like any human being. In all my films, I want the audience to feel that Syrian refugees are their equals. (This) could be any family around the world who is facing a dilemma of whether to stay or leave everything behind.”
Director: Lofty Nathan
Cast: Adam Bessa, Salima Maatoug, Najib Allagui, Ikbal Harbi
Billed as “an impassioned plea for social justice,” Nathan’s debut feature wowed critics at Cannes, with Adam Bessa picking up a Best Performance award in the festival’s Un Certain Regard section. Bessa plays Ali, a street vendor in Sidi Bouzid, the Tunisian city where another street vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in 2010 and started the Jasmine Revolution. Ali continually risks his life heading into the desert to buy the gasoline he sells on the black market, only for the police to extort most of his profits. Already in debt since the death of his father, and with his two younger sisters to provide for, Ali turns to his emotionally distant brother for help.
‘Dounia and the Princess of Aleppo’
Directors: Marya Zarif, André Kadi
Voice cast: Rachaf Ataya, Elsa Mardorissian, Manuel Tadros, Raïa Haidar
Zarif and Kadi’s feature is clearly designed to appeal to kids with its simple-but-striking animation, but will, as Screen Daily noted in its review, likely “prove to be a disarmingly potent proposition for adult animation fans also.” Six-year-old Dounia is forced to leave her home in Aleppo when her father is arrested in the middle of the night. Her mother died when Dounia was a baby, so the girl is accompanied by her grandparents. Through them, she connects to her homeland’s culture, particularly music and cooking, and through the five nigella seeds her grandma gives her as her journey as a refugee begins, her imagination runs free, connecting her with a character from stories her father used to tell her.
The Moroccan filmmaker’s latest feature focuses on husband and wife Halim (Saleh Bakri) and Mina (Lubna Azabal), a middle-aged couple who run a traditional caftan store in one of Morocco’s oldest medinas. Struggling to maintain their livelihood, they hire a talented young man named Youssef to help out. His arrival has a profound effect on the couple’s relationship, with Halim, in particular, forced to confront, and accept, his true self. The British Film Institute hailed the movie as “an emotionally complex, richly empathetic depiction of a partnership sustained through storms and challenges.”
Chebbi’s first solo feature starts out as a police procedural, but develops into something much weirder with supernatural elements. Set in Tunis’ Gardens of Carthage — a development project put on hold during the 2011 revolution and still unfinished — it focuses on detectives Fatma and Batal as they investigate the discovery of the burned corpse of a caretaker, under pressure from their bosses to label the case a suicide. When a similarly burned body — this time of a young maid — is found, witnesses tell them that a man with a “burning hand” is responsible.
Kapoor rose to fame in 2007 with “Saawariya” and has since starred in 30 films.
“Nadine Labaki and Ranbir Kapoor are two remarkable talents in the film industry,” said Red Sea fest CEO Mohammed Al-Turki in a statement. “We are honored to be partnering with Variety to recognize their huge talent and contribution to the industry, and to be hosting ‘In Conversation’ events with each of them to hear about their past success and hopes for the future. Each a unique storyteller, we look forward to welcoming them to Jeddah.”
Nigerian artist Rema tops first-ever Official MENA Chart
Updated 29 November 2022
DUBAI: The first-ever Official MENA Chart has been released with the support of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
Here, we take a look at the songs that claimed the top six spots in this week’s countdown.
Nigerian artist Rema has nabbed the top spot on the first-ever regional chart with his hit “Calm Down.” The weekly chart includes music streaming data from Anghami, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify and YouTube.
In at number two is Egyptian artist Farid with “Ba’amaret Meen,” a lilting melody with heartfelt lyrics.
The influence of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar is apparent, with K-Pop superstar Jung Kook’s hit “Dreamers,” which he performed with Kuwaiti singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi at the event’s opening ceremony, nabbing the number three spot.
Egyptian pop singer Ahmed Saad’s “Wasa3 Wasa3” came in at number four, proving the Egyptian music scene is one to be reckoned with.
Another FIFA World Cup anthem, Ozuna, GIMS and RedOne’s “Arhbo” is currently a popular hit in the region. The hit features lyrics in French, Spanish, English and Arabic.
In at number six is “Unholy” by British singer Sam Smith, featuring German singer Kim Petras. The song went viral on TikTok earlier this year.
Review: ‘The Guardians of Galaxy Holiday Special’ brings festive cheer to MCU
Updated 28 November 2022
LONDON: Viewers over a certain age may find that the phrase “Holiday Special” sends a shiver down their spine, but fear not — James Gunn and the Marvel factory are here to cleanse your palette. Gunn, recently announced as the new head of the DC cinematic universe, still has one more Marvel movie on the horizon, but before “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” hits cinemas in 2023, the director has reunited with the ragtag group of heroes for a seasonal one-shot on the Disney+ streaming platform — the latest in Marvel’s series of Special Presentations after October’s “Werewolf by Night.”
In an attempt to cheer up fellow Guardian Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Mantis and Drax (Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista) set out to give their friend an Earth-style Christmas, complete with lights, decorations and gifts. Except that their idea for a gift is to journey to Earth and kidnap actor Kevin Bacon, star of Quill’s favorite childhood movie, “Footloose.” Cue a series of comic interactions between the superhero Guardians and Earth’s population as they chase down and abduct Bacon and whisk him into space.
Unlike the now infamous 1978 “Star Wars Holiday Special,” this festive “Guardians” installment is as slick as the wider cinematic universe. For starters, it has excellent production values, appearances from all the Guardians (including Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Vin Diesel as Groot, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, and Maria Bakalova as new member Cosmo), and a story that, while light and throwaway, still fits into the wider MCU narrative. If anything, this is more of a scene-setting exercise for “Volume 3” than a seasonal cash-in. Gunn, and his ensemble cast, have clearly grown to love these characters as much as anyone, so there’s a feeling of playful reverence about this “Holiday Special” — not to mention a welcome sense that, while it’s silly and festive, this is as important to the Marvel timeline as any of the big-screen movies.