DUBAI: Lebanese filmmaker and actress Nadine Labaki has been announced as a jury member for the 80th Venice International Film Festival, to take place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9.
She will be joined by French Cesar-winning actor and producer Elsa Zylberstein, Mexican actor and Oscar nominee Yalitza Aparicio, British-Nigerian screenwriter Misan Sagay and renowned Italian director Stefano Savona.
According to Variety, Labaki and the team will assess the films’ artistic creativity, their relevance in the global political climate, their potential to challenge audience perspectives on the issues presented and their potential to inspire audiences to take action.
Labaki will also be a jury member for the 48th Toronto International Film Festival, to take place from Sept. 7-17. She will serve on the TIFF Platform jury.
Review: ‘The House of the Coptic Woman’ is intelligent, complex and rich
Updated 8 sec ago
CHICAGO: In rural Upper Egypt, public prosecutor Nader Fayez Kamal arrives in the village of Tayea, where tension is high between Coptic and Muslim communities in award-winning novelist and legal scholar Ashraf El-Ashmawi’s novel, “The House of the Coptic Woman.” Beginning a new job as a deputy public prosecutor on the outskirts of town, Nader must navigate a tricky post with complicated relationships between people and the land they live on. Translated into English by Peter Daniel, Nader finds life away from Cairo more complex than he had hoped for, but faces it with a strong legal mind and a penchant for solving mysteries.
On the night Nader arrives at the rest house to begin his new job, he meets a caretaker named Ramses who tells him that the lodge was originally built by a British irrigation engineer who was in charge of northern Upper Egypt before he was murdered in the 1940s. From that event, history changed the face of the village which by 1952, after the Egyptian revolution, changes its name to Tayea after the mayor. With a history of religious tension, Nader isn’t prepared for what’s about to happen. Coinciding with his arrival is the appearance of a young woman named Hoda who appears in the middle of the night with a secret that will change her life and that of those around her.
With an atmosphere that is foreboding, El-Ashmawi’s incredible storytelling sets the mood as the novel shifts between Nader and Hoda. Between the divisive village life, arson attacks, murders that are never solved, and mysterious land acquisitions and sales, Nader and Hoda are thrown into a world where they are forced to tread carefully. Nader has a knack for stepping on toes but has to learn the hard way that the path to justice and peace can be messy.
Setting a tone that is intelligent, complex, deceptive, and rich, El-Ashmawi’s novel encompasses sectarian strife and a debate about justice. There are laws that penalize for small offences and others in which the punishment is far less than the offense. In a place where justice is more concerned with politics, the protagonists will find themselves facing decisions that could alter their lives forever.
Cynthia Nixon starts hunger strike to demand ceasefire in Gaza
Updated 29 November 2023
DUBAI: US actress Cynthia Nixon on Monday began a hunger strike outside the White House to demand that US president Joe Biden call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
According to Sky News, the “Sex And The City” actress said: “I am sick and tired of people explaining away by saying that civilian casualties are a routine toll of war. There is nothing routine about these figures. There is noting routine about these deaths.
“I would like to make a personal plea to a president who has, himself, experienced such devastating personal loss, to connect with that empathy for which he is so well known and to look at the children of Gaza and imagine that they were his children,” she said.
Nixon will end her strike on Tuesday to return to New York for work commitments.
The star is joined by five politicians in the US: Delaware state representative Madinah Wilson-Anton, New York representative Zohran Mamdani, Oklahoma representative Mauree Turner, Virginia representative Sam Rasoul and Michigan representative Abraham Aiyash.
Some of the Arab stars who will hit the stage include Elissa, Mahmoud El-Esseily, Hakeem, Majid Al-Mohandis, Mohamed Ramadan, Omaima Taleb, Rabeh Saqr, Dalia Mubarak, Ruby, Nancy Ajram, Ramy Sabry, Ahmed Saad, Hamid El-Shari and more.
Naomi Campbell, Georgina Rodriguez spotted in Abu Dhabi
Updated 28 November 2023
DUBAI: A long list of celebrities, including Naomi Campbell, Georgina Rodriguez, Priyanka Chopra, Irina Shayk, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, were spotted in the UAE this week attending the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The A-list stars attended the final day of the Formula One race, which saw Max Verstappen take pole position for the season-ending event at the Yas Marina circuit.
Argentine model Rodriguez, who is Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s partner, attended the race with her son Mateo. She wore a strapless denim dress and a pale blue sweater draped around her shoulders.
“What a lovely day,” she captioned her picture with Mateo at the event.
Meanwhile, Campbell donned an oversized white printed dress, cinched at the waist with a corset-style belt.
Bollywood actress Chopra opted for a black and pink dress with matching tights and black sunglasses.
Khadra sisters, Bella Hadid pay tribute to their grandparents
Updated 28 November 2023
DUBAI: US Palestinian beauty entrepreneurs Simi and Haze Khadra, as well as US Dutch Palestinian supermodel Bella Hadid, took to social media this week to pay tribute to their respective grandparents.
The Khadra twins — beauty entrepreneurs and DJs who grew up between Riyadh, Dubai and London and are now regulars on the Los Angeles social scene — shared a post lauding their grandmother on her birthday.
“Happy birthday to our grandmother, teta Fairouz, who was born in Akka, Palestine. Like all four of our grandparents, she was forcibly expelled from her home as a child by Israeli forces in 1948 … she is the most selfless human we know — always displaying the remarkable strength, generosity, and integrity Palestinians are known for.”
The twins took to Instagram earlier this month to announce that they would donate all sales from their makeup brand SimiHaze Beauty until Nov. 27 on the brand’s website to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF).
“PCRF is working on getting children out of Gaza for free medical care. Simi & Haze have a trusting relationship with the PCRF, having completed successful fundraising campaigns together that have yielded dramatic improvements to children’s lives by bringing them the medical care they need to survive,” they posed on Instagram.
Meanwhile, Hadid took to Instagram Stories to celebrate her grandfather.
“He passed away when I was young but his memory is still inside my head,” she posted alongside a photograph of her paternal grandfather, adding: “His laugh, and his hug, and his voice and the fact that he could not be buried in the place where he was born and where his father and father’s father were born and died in the city they built — this is one of the many reasons I strive for a free, equal, liberated Palestine. I hope you are proud.”
Earlier this month, Hadid marked her father’s birthday with special post on Instagram that celebrated his Palestinian roots.
The 27-year-old catwalk star posted a picture of her and real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid from last year at the “Labour of Love” exhibition in Doha, which investigated the symbolism of the Palestinian thobe.
“Happy birthday to my baba … born in Nazareth, Palestine November 6, 1948,” Bella captioned her post.
In an earlier post, she shared the story of her father who was born in the year of the Nakba or “The Catastrophe” in 1948.
“Nine days after he was born, he, in his mother’s arms, along with his family were expelled from their home of Palestine, becoming refugees, away from a place they once called home,” she said.
“My grandparents, never being allowed to return. My family witnessed 75 years of violence against Palestinian people — most notably, brutal settler invasions which led to the destruction of entire communities, murder in cold blood and the forcible removal of families from their homes,” she added.