While my little Hollywood world is in the midst of AFI madness, another, not so glamorous festival is already underway. The Arabian Sights Film Festival hosted by the Washington DC International Film Festival is happening Oct. 27th through Nov. 5th (I know, I'm a little late, but you still have a whole weekend to pack in Arab movies!)
I've already discussed a number of the films showing at the fest on twitch, like Ahlaam and Bosta. I'll take this opportunity to talk about another film that represents, probably more than any other film in the festival, the current state of Arab films made for Arab audiences. "Lailat Suqout Baghdad," aka The Night Baghdad Fell, is an Egyptian black comedy that projects what life would be like if, after the Americans invaded Baghdad, their next stop were Cairo. The film received a lot of heat for being outwardly anti-American, but on second look, it does a lot more to mock Egyptians than anyone else.
A highlight: When the wife of lovable, hashish-addicted Tariq can't seem to get her husband inspired for sex, she dresses up like Condoleezza Rice and let's him finally feel like a man again. When I saw this movie in a theatre in Cairo, this joke killed. Sadly, I'm not that sure the humor is really going to fly with an American audience - and I can only imagine how unfunny that translation is going to be. That said, for all those well-trained 'Arab experts' listening to phone taps in northern Virginia, seeing this silly little movie might give a better glimpse into that ever enigmatic 'Arab Mind,' than any Al-Jazeera report will ever do.
And the Director Mohammad Amin is going to be there. (It should be mentioned that one of his previous films, 'A Cultural Film," is a whole movie about three young guys trying to watch a porno. Nice!)