Must Watch Cinema

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Films from the Arab world you shouldn’t miss out on ….



From Iraq, Khalid Alzhraou’s documentary Ten Years of My Life follows the lives of Iraqi women of different religions and ethnicities during 10 decisive years in their lives from Saddam Hussein’s downfall in 2003 through to 2013. The compelling film explores what life means for women in Iraq. Rain on Jeekora short by Joudi Alkinani, is a biographical film on the life of the renowned Iraqi poet Badr Shakir Al-Sayyab (1926-1964).

Ali Kareem, an Iraqi film director and screenwriter, will be presenting two projects at the festival. Mehdi is about a young Iraqi boy who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, surrounded by the savagery of war whilst Matchbox is about Michael, a man who has spent his life running away from responsibility. After causing an accident, he attempts to hide away only to be found by a young boy who befriends him.


Whispers of the Cities combines three emotionally-linked stories, and was shot over 10 years in three different cities – Ramallah in the West Bank, Erbil in Kurdistan and Baghdad in Iraq. The director, Kasim Abid films “window diaries” in the places he travels to, exploring the courage and resilience seen through peoples’ actions, the struggles they face and the changes that have happened through war and destruction.

Two thought-provoking films from Iraqi filmmakers tackle the struggles faced by Kurdistan families during the 20th century. Home and Key from Iraqi filmmaker Shwan Attof is a harrowing look at the death of a Kurdish family and Record by Hawraz Mohammed tells the real life stories of an elderly mother and father through video in order to send their son who after escaping the civil war and poverty lives abroad.

From Yemen, prominent filmmaker Khadija Al-Salami returns with the brave documentary Killing Her is a Ticket To Paradise tells the story of the young, outspoken writer Bouchra Al Maqtari, who writes an article, expressing her disappointment in the broken dream of freedom and democracy. Bouchra’s writing becomes a serious threat to her family and herself.

Al-Tohoor by Anwar Alruzaiqi tells the story of a rural village on the cusp of the end of the 1970’s. In this village, traditions and customs prevail, however things change when an unprecedented event takes place and changes the dynamics of the village. In Saudi Arabia’s filmmaker Anwar Albinhumdh’s Stone, a man who follows a typical routine gets paid to do something unusual, prompting him to wonder about the meaning of lif