DUBAI: The second Arab Cinema Week is returning this month to Dubai, UAE.
The inaugural event last year screened nine feature films and six short films — with 11 Arab countries and nine female directors represented.
This year the festival is being held under the theme ‘Human Bonds’ and aims to explore an individual’s connection to a particular society and the effect customs and traditions have on a person’s upbringing, identity and relationships.
The featured films reflect key events that have affected the Arab world — such as the unrest in Lebanon, the earthquake in Morocco and the upheaval in Sudan.
For example, the documentary “Heroic Bodies” explores the position women hold in Sudanese society, and in “My Lost Country,” filmmaker Ishtar Yasin Gutierrez retraces her father’s roots in Iraq, 20 years after the invasion of the country.
Beirut holds a special place in the selection, said Rabih El-Khoury, curator of this year’s festival.
The lineup includes three Beirut-based films: Wissam Charaf’s “Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous,” which tells the story of a Syrian refugee and an Ethiopian domestic worker falling in love in Beirut; Mohamed Soueid’s documentary “The Insomnia of a Serial Dreamer” and Borhane Alaouie’s celebrated feature “Beirut the Encounter,” which was shot during the Lebanese civil war.
Other films this year include “Under the Fig Trees,” “Life Suits Me Well” and “Alam.”
El-Khoury said: “Arab Cinema Week is both an exploration and a celebration of Arab cinema. In a program that invites the spectators to investigate human bonds, Cinema Akil is also fortifying its ties with its tremendous audience and filmgoers, a human bond that remains invaluable.”
The 10-day event will be held at Cinema Akil in collaboration with the UK’s Safar Film Festival from Oct. 6 to Oct. 15.