International: Middle East

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Now Streaming: MASAMEER THE MOVIE, Merrily Mocking Superheroes

Directed by Malik Nejer, the animated film hails from Saudia Arabia and is now on Netflix.

Rotterdam 2020 Review: Saeed Roustayi's JUST 6.5 Scores An 8.8

Iran. As a country, we often see it in the news as "the other", a large territory in the Middle East which is, if not outright antagonistic, at the very least totally alien. It's quite an eye-opener when all those...

Berlinale 2020 Review: THERE IS NO EVIL, Country Eating Its Children

Banned filmmaker "spreads propaganda against the Islamic government" portraying the mechanism of the complicity run by an authoritarian and oppressive regime.

Rotterdam 2020 Review: In THE END WILL BE SPECTACULAR, Filmmaking Meets Journalism

The under-reported resistance during the 2016 siege of Sur receives an insider's treatment, while emphasizing female empowerment in the usually male-dominated area of military conflict.

Pretty Packaging: Criterion's THE KOKER TRILOGY Is An Iranian Russian Doll

If we look at the Blu-ray distributing landscape, I think nobody will contest that Criterion is the most prestigious company in existence there. From 1984 onward the company has focused on quality, and, quoting Wikipedia: "Criterion is noted for helping...

SYNONYMS Interview: Nadav Lapid on Israeli Identity, Art of Persuasion, and Actor Tom Mercier

Synonyms, Nadav Lapid's semi-autobiographical film about a young Israeli man struggling with his country's identity, won him many accolades this year, including the Golden Bear at the Berlinale. The film is greatly aided by its fearless star Tom Mercier. I...

Now Streaming: THE SPY Who Came In From Hollywood

Sacha Baron Cohen, Hadar Ratzon Rotem and Noah Emmerich star in a new dramatic series from Israeli powerhouse Gideon Raff ('The Red Sea Diving Resort').

Fantasia 2019 Review: AMERICAN FIGHTER Puts a Different Face to The 80s Style Fighting Genre

The year is 1981. Ali is a student from Iran attending university on a foreign scholarship. The war between Iran and Iraq is early into their years long conflict and Ali's parents are try to flee Iran and get his...

Frontières@Fantasia 2019: Five Standouts From Official Selection Pitch Session

The Fantasia organized Frontières Market is the premiere event for filmmakers looking to take the next step in making their ideas into reality. For years Frontières has helped connect creative talent with the resources needed to translate great concepts into actual films....

Review: MADAM YANKELOVA'S FINE LITERATURE CLUB, Very Strange Dark Comedy

Guilhad Emilio Schenker's debut feature is a strange, beguiling affair.

Notes on Streaming: JINN, Battling Spirits, Courting Controversy in Jordan

What constitutes 'immoral scenes' where you live?

Frontières 2019: Market Projects Announced

As the Fantasia Film Festival draws near we have been waiting to hear from our friends at the Frontieres co-production market. From its humble beginnings sequestered to a tiny classroom above the Hall Auditorium to now filling that very place...

LOBO FEROZ (FEROCIOUS WOLF): Spanish Language Remake of BIG BAD WOLVES Underway

Variety reported this weekend that there will be a Spanish language remake of Big Bad Wolves, the rather spectacular Israeli thriller from Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado. The working title is Lobo Feroz (Ferocious Wolf).   The revenge-thriller tracks a...

Frontières Announces Cannes 2019 Platform, Genre Goodies Abound

In recent years, Frontières has become the premiere co-producing platform and market for fantastic genre cinema. If you have a horror, scifi, or supernatural film idea, Frontières is the place for you, and it's become one of the highlights of...

WORKING WOMAN Interview: Director Michal Aviad Talks Conflict, Collaboration and a Tough Cultural Change

Now playing in New York City at the IFC Center, Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Working Woman is a timely and powerful "fictional account [that] left me shaken and disturbed," as I wrote in my review. It revolves around Orna...

Review: WORKING WOMAN, Just Let Her Work, Man

Liron Ben Shlush stars in Michal Aviad's stirring drama about sexual harassment on the job.

Blu-ray Review: 24 FRAMES Mischievously, Compellingly Lulls to the End of Abbas Kiarostami's Life, Career

Though not always a popular talent in his homeland, or even abroad, it’s fair to assess Kiarostami as a kind of “filmmaker’s filmmaker”.  Jean-Luc Godard has said, "Film begins with D.W. Griffith and ends with Abbas Kiarostami." Godard is always...

Notes on Streaming: Gregg Araki's NOW APOCALYPSE, Singapore's GRISSE, Turkey's IMMORTALS

We've got it all: young people, historical action, and Turkish vampires.

Rotterdam 2019 Review: CAPERNAUM Delivers A Magnificent Punch

Last Friday, at the 2019 edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the audience award went to a film which managed to score an average of 4.8 out of 5. That film was writer-director Nadine Labaki's Capernaum, and while it...