Actresses Tara Emad, Ruba Zarour shine at Red Sea premiere of ‘All Roads Lead to Rome’
Updated 12 sec ago
JEDDAH: Egyptian Montenegrin actress Tara Emad and Lebanese American actress Ruba Zarour took over the red carpet ahead of the screening of Lebanese filmmaker Lara Saba’s “All Roads Lead to Rome,” at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah.
Styled by Cedric Haddad, Emad wore a glittering embellished jumpsuit by Lebanese couturier Elie Saab, paired with jewelry by Cartier.
Zarour, the leading lady of “All Roads Lead To Rome,” wore a stylish jacket dress from French luxury fashion house Chanel.
Also attending the screening was popular Egyptian actress-singer Bushra Rozza, wearing a pearlescent green suit from Dubai-based label Lili Blanc, founded by Lebanese designer Sabrina Mouhiedin.
After the screening, Emad took to Instagram Stories to congratulate Zarour on her performance. “You’re a star. Mabrook @rubazarour. Truly enjoyed this light-hearted and beautiful film. Congrats to the whole incredibly talented cast.”
The film, produced by Lara and Chadi Haddad, tells the story of Hady (played by Haddad), a famous actor who is shortlisted for the role of the young pope in an international production.
In preparation for the role, he escapes his hectic life to Qannoubin, where four nuns and a young woman lead him to undergo a transformation.
The romantic comedy also stars Julia Kassar, Betty Taoutel, Myrna Moukarzel and Cynthia Karam.
Meanwhile, Saudi actress Fay Fouad attended the screening of “Sattar” and “Hanging Gardens” on Saturday. Also at the star-studded red carpet was Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar, who also took part in an In Conversation segment at the film festival on Saturday.
Saudi actress Khairiah Abulaban was also spotted on the red carpet ahead of the two screenings.
Adding to the jam-packed day, Lebanese actor, director and writer Nadine Labaki — who enjoyed breakout success with Oscar-nominated and Cannes Jury Prize-winning third feature “Capernaum” in 2018 — was presented with the Variety International Filmmaker Vanguard award as she addressed the audience in an hour-long In Conversation panel.
The Red Sea International Film Festival runs until Dec. 10.
Gurinder Chadha says ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ was about racism at RSIFF 2022
Updated 04 December 2022
JEDDAH: British Indian filmmaker Gurinder Chadha -- known largely for her commercial, feel-good films -- took part in an hour-long 'In Conversation' panel at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah, where she talked about one of her most popular early films, "Bend It Like Beckham."
The sports comedy film, released in 2002, starred Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra in lead roles.
“It’s about racism,” the director said of the film. “It’s dressed up as a comedy but it’s actually about parents protecting children from racism. But if I had gone out and said this was a film about racism, it would have never got financed, never!”
She also bemoaned the fact that there aren't more successful British Indian filmmakers in the industry.
When asked if she suffered from tokenism in the U.K. as a British Indian director, Chadha said: “I think the opposite because I’ve been the only one for many years. I think it’s a shameful statistic and people are trying to change that. I was the first Indian woman to make a feature in Britain [1994’s ‘Bhaji on the Beach’] and, until this day, there are only one or two [British-Indian directors in Britain]. I’m a reminder of the fact that things need to change.”
Speaking about the experience of visiting Saudi Arabia, she said: “In Britain, we have a different view of what Saudi Arabia is. Everything here is geared towards families, everything is about family life and kids, and you don’t get those impressions in Britain.
“It’s a country that’s changing. For some people, it’s changing too fast, and for some people, it’s not changing enough. I’m really interested in those discussions right now. The work that I do is very much focused on the fact that people will change,” continued the filmmaker. “It’s interesting to see those discussions in Saudi cinema, and to see how people negotiate change. I hope it’s not seen as a negative thing.”
US director Oliver Stone explores Saudi film scene at Red Sea International Film Festival
Updated 03 December 2022
JEDDAH: Lauded US director Oliver Stone took part in a roundtable discussion at the ongoing Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
When asked by Arab News if he would consider filming in Saudi Arabia, he said: “My time is limited, I’m 76 years old. What do you want me to do, come down here and learn a whole different culture? No, I don’t think that’s possible. I have one project in mind, which I can’t tell you because nobody knows about it and if I can get that done, I would be very happy.”
“The Middle East has tremendous potential, economically too. People are putting money here, no question,” he added.
When commenting on film’s ability to act as a cultural bridge, he said “I imagine cinema has played a huge role, but on the other hand cinema is also very violent and revenge-motivated — those stories always seem to work — so you could say that’s not a good example for the world… so it’s double-edged, it depends on the movie.”
Stone’s latest documentary “Nuclear” is screening at the festival on Sunday.
Prior to his private discussion, the “Scarface” director and RSIFF jury president took to the stage at the opening ceremony of the festival on Thursday to share his views on Saudi Arabia.
Stone said the country is “much misunderstood in the present world – people who have judged too harshly should come and visit to see for themselves.” He also noted “changes” and “reforms” taking place in the Kingdom, which he said make it worth a visit.
Commenting on the 15-strong competition slate, the Oscar-winning director said: “These films stick to very basic ideas of survival, migration, suffering. There’s a real spirit here, which is growing,” according to Variety.
The event will continue until Dec. 10 under the slogan “Film is Everything.”
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.
Review: Red Sea title ‘Shimoni’ is both devastating and meaningful
Updated 03 December 2022
JEDDAH: “Shimoni (The Pit)” — part of the ongoing Red Sea International Film Festival — was written and directed with a lot of feeling by Kenya’s Angela Wamai. It is a devastating look at what happens when a community fails to care for a fallen man. Wamai's ability to tell a story through long silences add to the tension, aided by some wonderfully neat editing. The use of light and shade to take us through the moods of the moment to create a fantastic feeling, and our hearts go out to Geoffrey (Justin Mirichii), who suffers through a childhood trauma and a punishingly long jail term.
Released from prison seven years after being charged with homicide, Geoffrey shudders when he is asked to live in the village where he grew up and where horrifying memories torment him. Once a brilliant English teacher, the former convict is uneasy when he is asked to do farm work. His boss is a talkative woman, Martha (Muthoni Gathecha), who is displeased with him.
The village priest has his own agenda — he wants Geoffrey to repent for his sins and gives the fallen man a sermon every night. But when the pastor insists that the young man meet with the victim's family, the uneasiness is excruciating.
What ultimately proves to be a tipping point is when village gossip becomes unbearable for him. Beatrice (Vivian Wambui), just about to get out of her teen years, is another source of irritation for him, when her curiosity pushes her to play with fire.
Wamai's writing presents an authentic picture of this deeply religious churchgoing village, where the pastor's word is the law. The only person who appears outside this circle is Martha, who loves playing the sleuth. Interestingly, the script offers a lovely view of the relationship between her and Geoffrey — their meetings are both tense and witty and the movie, set in the Kenyan countryside, goes to underline the trauma of an individual when he has had a run in with the law.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Jessica Alba among chic guests at RSIFF 2022- Women in Cinema gala
Updated 03 December 2022
JEDDAH: International movie and TV star Priyanka Chopra Jonas made a glittering entrance at the Women in Cinema gala at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah on Friday night. Other glamorous guests included the likes of Jessica Alba, Frieda Pinto, Tara Emad, Lucy Hale, Sharon Stone, Gurinder Chadha, Salma Abu Deif, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and more.
“Quantico” star Chopra Jonas looked resplendent in a lavish gold gown by Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran. Hollywood actress Alba — famously seen in movies like “Sin City” and “Fantastic Four” — also supported Middle East labels by opting for an elegant, embellished gown from Lebanese couturier Elie Saab.
Meanwhile, on the opening night of the film festival, stars took to the red carpet and shone a light on Saudi designers. While stars like Sharon Stone, Shah Rukh Khan, Oliver Stone, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and many more graced the red carpet in striking fashion looks, Saudi designers also had their moment to shine at the event.
Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio dazzled in a blue jumpsuit from Jeddah-based designer Yousef Akbar. She completed the look with a gold bangle and matching stud earrings. The model has often sported creations from Arab designers. Last month, she wore a lime gown by Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad to a holiday brunch in Mexico.
Jomana Al-Rashed, the first Saudi woman to be appointed CEO of the Saudi Research and Media Group, was spotted posing alongside Hollywood star Sharon Stone, wearing Saudi label Loodyana.
British actress Jacqui Ainsley, known for her role in the 2017 film “King Arthur: legend of the Sword,” took to the red carpet wearing US-based label Dazluq, founded by Saudi designer Salma Zahran. Ashley is married to British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, who was also in attendance.
Honayda Serafi, founder of the Saudi label Honayda, represented her own brand in a striking green ensemble. “Delighted to be attending the opening ceremony of the second edition of the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah, surrounded by successful talents from around the world and celebrating Arab artists. A grand event bridging cultures from West to East, bursting (with) creativity and beauty,” she posted on Instagram, along with shots of her outfit.
Lebanese influencer Nathalie Fanj was seen wearing an ethereal mermaid black gown from designer Tima Abed. She completed the look with dangling, heart-shaped earrings from Chopard.