Arab Films Take Over The Oscars!! (Well...not exactly)
I realize that ScreenAnarchy has covered the foreign-language official Oscar submissions previously this month but since five of them are from Arab countries, I thought I'd take this opportunity to examine those more closely. For the record, five films may not seem like a big accomplishment to you, since this represents only about 25% of all Arab countries, but when you take into account countries like Saudi Arabia, that have zero movie theatres, this feels really big. Good job guys!
Of the five that have been submitted, I've already discussed Egypt's The Yacoubian Building and Algeria's Indigenes.
From Lebanon is Bosta by Philippe Aractingi. Lebanese people LOVE this movie. It's a crowd-pleasing dance/road-trip story. Think The Muppet Movie meets Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. (That's a complete lie. But, seriously, how incredible would that be!?) Watch the trailer. There are no subtitles, but who needs words when you have the language of dance and heavy make-up? A useful fun fact: This was the first Lebanese film entirely financed by Lebanese money. Be sure to drop that at your next dinner party and you're sure to win new friends.
Website and trailer here.
From Iraq is Dreams (Ahlaam) by Mohamed Al-Daradji. They're claiming this is the first feature shot in Iraq since the fall of Saddam. That's not entirely true considering Oday Rasheed's Underexposure took that prize in 2003. Either way, Ahlaam has gotten some good reviews from international press.
Website, trailer and press found here.
From Morocco is The Moroccan Symphony by Kamal Kamal. Not much online besides a synopsis. I'll keep looking.