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Tea with Culture

Podcast featuring discussions and interviews about the cultural happenings in the United Arab Emirates presented by Hind Mezaina (The Culturist) and Wael Hattar.


Love and Revenge at Louvre Abu Dhabi on 2 and 3 May 2018


Love and Revenge / Gharam Wa Intiqam is a live music and video show by Randa Mirza (La mirza) and Wael Kodeih (Rayess Bek) that revisits music and cinema archive from the Arab world, featuring singers and film stars from Arab pop songs and Egyptian films. 

The show is coming to Louvre Abu Dhabi, for two nights on Wednesday, 2nd and Thursday, 3rd May. The performance will take place at the Auditorium Plaza at 8pm on both days. The price of the ticket ranges between AED 114 and AED 142 which can be bought online or at the museum.  

Lebanese hip-hopper Rayess Bek and visual artist La Mirza offer their own electro-modern take on the golden age of Egyptian cinema and eternal hits of Middle Eastern popular music.

Bek mixes popular Arabic songs, while Mirza puts into movement extracts from movies. For these two Lebanese who grew up in France, their performance is a cross-border dialogue of two cultures.  


Via Sohpiatown at Louvre Abu Dhabi on 19 and 20 April 2018

Via Katlehong Dance will perform Via Sophiatown at Louvre Abu Dhabi on 19th and 20th April. Founded in 1992, Via Katlehong Dance is not just a dance group, but a "community development organization".

Via, "Initially, the dancing was a way to divert young people from the violence and crime that wracked the townships during the struggle to end Apartheid. The choreographer, who grew up in Katlehong, says he joined the troupe himself in 1996, when he was about 15 years old."  Do read the complete article, as it gives you an insight into this group. 

The performance at Louvre Abu Dhabi will take place at the Auditorium Plaza at 8pm on Thursday/Friday 19th and 20th April. The price of the ticket ranges between AED 114 and AED 142 which can be bought online or at the museum. 

Via Sophiatown combines pantsula dancing, a sort of non-acrobatic but demanding hip-hop, tap-dancing, stepping and gumboot dancing. By calling out, whistling, stamping feet and clapping, the audience participates in this celebration full of dynamism and passion for life.

With beat of internationally renowned South African music, like Dorothy Masuka or Miriam Makeba, the show will feature couples dancing the tsaba-tsaba or kofifi, the ancestor of the pantsula. Accompanied by three jazz musicians, they will relive these highlights of African culture, the 'happy Africa' era.


Insula - Concert in Dubai and Abu Dhabi


The French band Insula will be performing their blend of Afro-Caribbean jazz and Algerian music in Dubai on Saturday, 14th April at Alliance Francaise at 3pm and in Abu Dhabi on Monday, 16th April at the Abu Dhabi Theatre close to Marina Mall at7.30pm

INSULA is a French group of three musicians who play Caribbean jazz with Arabic-Andalusian rhythms. They compose music with original sounds mixing the Arabian Lute and the piano, combining traditional and modern music. “Insula” also has a great deal of African influence so Arabic and Algerian sounds feature prominently in their compositions.

This French band is formed by musicians, with Maher Beauroy (Piano-Martinique), Redha Benabdallah (Oud-Algeria) and Adriano Tenorio (Percussions-Brazil) in tribute to the writer Frantz Fanon, prominent figure in Martinique and in Algeria. 

Inspired by the Arab-Andalusian music and the modern Caribbean jazz, the group offers a bold music, rich in sensitivity and color, building a bridge between tradition and modernity in the footsteps of the great thinker and militant anti-colonialist Frantz Fanon.




Tickets for Dubai: 
Tickets for Abu Dhabi: 



Martin Parr Foundation

In 2017, Martin Parr opened the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, UK. Its aim is to collect, celebrate and raise the status of British documentary photographers. 

If you are not familiar with Martin Parr, he is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photobook collector. He is known for his photographic projects that take an intimate look at aspects of modern life, in particular documenting the social classes of England.

Here he is talking about the foundation and how "photography is a form of therapy". 


Yto Barrada: Agadir at Barbican Centre 


The starting point for Yto Barrada's Agadir exhibition is the hybrid novel-play by Moroccan writer Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine – Agadir  (1967),  – which reflects on the devastating earthquake that destroyed much of the modernist city of Agadir, Morocco, in 1960. 

The exhibition which is a site specific installation inside the Curve at the Barbican Centre in London includes a mural, a new film commission, several sculptures, and a series of live and recorded performances.

The work weaves together personal narratives and political ideals, presenting a  omplex portrait of a city in transition, resonating with many of the challenges we face in contemporary society. It's an exhibition that looks at how a city and its people might address the process of reinvention following disaster.  

In this video, Yto Barrada talks to curator Lotte Johnson about the exhibition and how she uses collages, installations and performances to create a portrait of a city and its people in a state of transition. 



These are images of some of the works from. 

Jardin de quartier industriel (Industrial District Garden), Agadir, Morocco, by Jean Challet, 1960

Yto Barrada. Film still from Agadir, 2018 © Yto Barrada, courtesy Pace Gallery; Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Beirut; and Galerie Polaris, Paris

Yto Barrada. Film still from Hand-Me-Downs, 2011

Yto Barrada. Gran Royal Turismo, 2003


All images via Barbican Centre


Exhibition details:
Dates: 7th February - 20th May 2018
Venue: The Curve, Barbican Centre, London 


International Day of Happiness


I couldn't agree more.  Image via Cineteca de Bologna


Abu Dhabi Festival 2018 - Short Film Screenings and Panel Talk


I've been invited by ADMAF to moderate a talk titled "The Importance of Short Films in the Arab World" which will take place after three short film screenings, on Tuesday, 13th March at 6pm in NYUAD Arts Center.

The event is part the Young Filmmakers' Circle (which will also have three days dedicated to a screenwriting workshop) organised by Abu Dhabi Festival that celebrates art, music, performances and film with events taking place across several venues in Abu Dhabi. 

The talk will include filmmaker Amna Al Nowais, educator Greg Unaru, and partner of MAD Solutions Abdallah Al Shami.    

The film screenings and panel discussion are both free to attend, but you must register online here.

Here's some more info about the films that will be screened (all will be subtitled in English). If you are in Abu Dhabi, please come and say hello.  


Ave Maria | Director: Basil Khalil | 2015 | 15 mins 

This comedy tells the story of the Nuns of the Sisters of Mercy. Located in the in the West Bank wilderness, their daily routine of silence and prayer is disrupted when a family of religious settlers crash their car into the convent’s wall.

Ave Maria was part of the official selection at Cannes Film Festival 2015. It won Best Muhr Short Film at Dubai International Film Festival 2015 and received an nomination in the Short Film category at the 88th Academy Award® in 2016.  



Ayny | Director: Ahmad Saleh | 2016 | 11 mins 

An animated short film about two young boys who have run away from their mother’s protection into war, following their dream of playing an Oud. 


Omnia | Director:  Amna Al Nowais | 2015 | 9 mins

Exploring the psychological and physical effects of female circumcision, Amna Al Nowais’ powerful short film won the Best Muhr Emirati Short Award at Dubai International Film Festival in 2015.




Revived and Restored Films to See at Berlinale 2018

Greetings from Berlin. I'm attending the film festival here which is on from 15 - 25 February. There's a long list of new films to see, but I've also got my eye on the rich selection of old films that are included in this year's edition. 

The Restrospective section this year is titled “Weimar Cinema Revisited”,  focusing on cinema in the Weimar era. Between 1918 and 1933 it was one if the most productive and influential phases in Germanfilmmaking began unfolding, a creative era that went on to shape international perception of the country’s filmculture, even to the present day. The selection includes a total of 28 programmes of narrative, documentary,and short films made between 1918 and 1933.

The Berlinale Classics section features world premieres of a total of seven films in digitally restored versions,and the Homage section is dedicated to Willem Dafoe. Lastly, the Forum section includes a series of Special Screenings committed to an alternative view of film historiography.  

Here are my top picks of revived/restored films to see at Berlinale, per section, listed in the order of the year each film wasoriginally released. I've also included the screening format. My list is focused on feature films only (there's along list of short films I recommend you look up if you are at the festival). Click on each title for more details(images and synposis extracts from the Berlinale website). 



Restrospective - Weimar Cinema Revisited

Heaven on Earth
Director: Reinhold Schünzel Alfred Schirokauer  
1927 | Germany 113 min | 35 mm | Restored Version 2013  

Local representative Traugott Bellmann is a vocal critic of society’s moral decline in general and the notorious nightclub “Heaven on Earth” in particular. Just his luck that he inherits the place – along with half a million marks – and furthermore, on the day, of all days, that he is appointed president of the Moral Decency League! And just his luck that the terms of the inheritance from his deceased brother stipulate that Bellmann has tospend every night from ten to three in the morning in his newly-acquired “den of iniquity”.

Adding to the just his luck scenario is the fact that it all happens on Bellmann’s wedding day, with the daughter of a respectable champagne bottler waiting for her bridegroom in the bedroom … Shimmy, jazz, and Ziegfeld-style girl revues. With risqué innuendo and effervescent humour, the film turns elements of urbaneentertainment into an attack on the 1926 obscenity law.  


Show Life
Director: Richard Eichberg
1928 | Germany / United Kingdom |125 min | 35 mm 

This melodrama set in exotic locales is considered the most mature work of Richard Eichberg, a busy director who worked across all genres. With delicate Hollywood star Anna May Wong, and heavyweight Heinrich George as the leads, the film unfolds as a dazzling visual interplay of contrasts.

Moving between dive bar and cabaret, ocean liner and night train, this German-British co-production represented Weimar cinema’s first foray into the milieu of European ex-pats in a colonial setting, which wasvery attractive for western foreign markets.  


Spring Awakening
Director: Richard Oswald  
1929 | Germany | 95 min | 35 mm 

Setting in the 1920s, the film explores “modern” youth culture, complete with cigarettes, jazz music, the gramophone, and a goodly bit of alcohol. Richard Oswald, a master of films of manners and young sex beginning in the 1910s, fully explores the temptations of the youthful body, even early childhood flirtatiousness. At the same time, with his target audience in mind, the film laments the bigotry and double standards of theadult world. 


Her Majesty, Love
Director: Joe May
1931 | Germany 101 min | 35 mm    

To provoke his brother Othmar, the director of Wellingen motor works, charming playboy Fred von Wellingen gets engaged to barmaid Lia Török. But the company needs a fresh influx of money, so Othmar wants Fred to marry the wealthy Miss Lingenfeld, and promises to promote Fred to general manager in return for giving up Lia. Fred, who by this time is genuinely in love with the barmaid, reluctantly accepts the deal.

The supporting actors are the stars in this tempestuous film operetta. In a mad dash to a surprise ending, a colourful chorus of song numbers, sketches, and artistic tomfoolery put those minor roles at the centre of attention – as filled by actors such as Ralph Arthur Roberts, Szöke Szakall, Otto Wallburg, and Adele Sandrock, who were an essential part of the rich pool of acting talent boasted by Weimar-era cinema.  


The Blue Light 
Director: Leni Riefenstahl  
1932 | Germany | 86 min |  2K DCP Theatrical Release Version 1932, digitally restored 2018 

In an isolated mountain village in the Dolomites, the painter Vigo meets a young woman named Junta. She is ostracised by the superstitious villagers who consider her a witch. They believe that numerous young men, lured by Junta’s beauty, have followed her towards a mysterious blue light on Monte Cristallo and fallen to theirdeaths. Vigo wins the affection of the shy hermit. He moves into her hut and one night, he discovers her secret.

For her directing debut, Leni Riefenstahl also wrote the script with critic Béla Balázs. The film was an outlier intwo respects. Made not only outside of the established Berlin studio system, it was also something of a ‘chick flick’ within the mountain film genre – movies made by and with men, and heavy on athleticism and documentary-style images.   


Berlinale Classics 

Tokyo Boshoku
Director: Yasujiro Ozu
1957 | Japan | 140 min 4K DCP | Digitally restored version 2017 

In a barren, cold Tokyo, a young woman is broken by her father’s harsh nature and silence. This largely-unknown work is considered Ozu’s darkest post-war film. 


Fail Safe
Director: Sidney Lumet  
1964 | USA | 112 min | Black/White | 4K DCP | Digitally restored version 2017  

The film is an intimate drama about nuclear war. This taut psychological drama is based on the eponymous bestselling book published in 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis. It is an impressive critique of the Cold War military doctrine, with its portrayal of politicians and the military mired in the fatal logic of mutually assured destruction.   


Wings of Desire
Director: Wim Wenders
1987 |  Federal Republic of Germany / France | 129 min | 4K DCP | Digitally restored version 2018  

Damiel and Cassiel, the film’s two main characters, are guardian angels – benevolent, invisible beings wearing long coats. They are unable to intervene in human lives, but they can hear the thoughts of mortals and attempt to comfort them. Damiel falls in love with trapeze artist Marion and wants to become human, even though thatmeans giving up immortality.

Peter Falk, playing himself as a former angel, has already taken that fateful step and urges Damiel to leave eternity behind too. The story is told from the point of view of the angels, who see the world in black and white. It is not until Damiel becomes human that the world of colour reveals itself to him.   


My 20th Century  
Director: Ildikó Enyedi 
1989 | Hungary, Federal Republic of Germany | 105 min | 4K DCP | Digitally restored version 2017 

A romantic love story, a poetic fairy tale, an erotic riddle – and at the same time, an inventory of new technology – electricity, the telegraph, film. Conceived as an homage to silent movies and shot in black-and-white, My 20th Century references many silent film techniques and tricks. 


To Live and Die in L.A. 
Director: William Friedkin    
1985 | USA |  116 min | 2K DCP  
In this action-packed thriller, Willem Dafoe is a kind of Mick Jagger of the local gangster milieu. His character has a sense of fashion reflected in his clothing and the decoration of his apartment, and a sexual ambivalence that he acts out in a liaison with his lesbian accomplice; he counters the machismo of the federal agent with sardonic charm.  
Director: Oliver Stone

1986 | USA  | 120 min | 35 mm

In the autumn of 1967 during the Vietnam War, army volunteer Chris Taylor is assigned to an infantry platoon near the Cambodian border. He soon realises that he and his comrades have very little chance of surviving intheir fight against the Vietcong. He begins hanging out with a clique of pot-smoking GIs surrounding Elias Grodin, a veteran, disillusioned sergeant who believes the war has already been lost.
When a group of frustrated soldiers massacres the inhabitants of a Vietnamese village, Grodin threatens to turn them in. But theleader of the group is also the sergeant’s superior and during the next patrol, he takes steps to protect himself. 


The Last Temptation of Christ 
Director: Martin Scorsese 
1988 | USA / Canada | 163 min | 2K DCP   

Jesus, a Jewish carpenter from Bethlehem, who makes the crosses that the Roman occupiers use forexecutions, hears the voice of God. He gathers disciples around him and travels the land performing miracles.Judas, tasked with winning him over to the political resistance, also joins the group. In Jerusalem, Jesus bringsdown the ire of the religious and secular authorities upon himself.
But it is not until Judas betrays him that he is captured and nailed to a cross. Whereupon a guardian angelappears to him. In Martin Scorsese’s extremely controversial film adaptation of the eponymous novel, theredeemer is confronted with a range of worldly temptations, giving Dafoe a platform for one of his mostpowerful onscreen performances.    



Mississippi Burning
Director: Alan Parker
1988 | 120 min |  35 mm 

Mississippi, 1964. After driving through the night from the north, three young civil rights activists – two white and one black – disappear without a trace. Young FBI agent Alan Ward and his partner, Mississippian Rupert Anderson, are sent to investigate. But their inquiries are met with resistance at every turn, by racist locals, intimidated African-Americans, and first and foremost, the local sheriff and the mayor, who at a bare minimum sympathise with the Ku Klux Klan, possibly worse. When the FBI agents find the missing activists’ burnt-out car, they assume murder. 

Shadow of the Vampire 
Director: E. Elias Merhige
2000 | USA / United Kingdom / Luxembourg | 90 min | 35 mm
During the making of Nosferatu, a film version of Bram Stoker’s vampire tale “Dracula”, Berlin-based director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau aims for high realism. The exteriors are shot in 1921 in the Carpathian Mountains,where the farmers are played by real farmers. The vampire is played by Max Schreck, known as an adherent ofthe Reinhardt and Stanislavski methods.
But suddenly the thespian begins behaving strangely. He’ll only shoot at night, he never takes his costume off, and he attacks the cinematographer several times. But above all, he has a special craving for his co-star Greta Schröder, who is innocent of the real nature of her over-assertive colleague. 
Auto Focus
Director: Paul Schrader   
2002 | USA |  106 min | 35 mm   
When Bob Crane, the star of TV’s Hogan’s Heroes, meets video technician John Carpenter in the 1960s, it changes his life. The actor had previously made do with porn magazines to survive in a sexually-unfulfilling marriage; now he is making his own porn films – starring himself.
Crane and Carpenter’s friendship remains intact as long as Bob uses his celebrity to lure in women, and John keeps acquiring the latest equipment. But then Crane’s wife, and more and more of his film colleagues learn of his escapades. Not only his marriage, but also his career goes into a steep decline. 




Tahia ya Didou
Director: Mohamed Zinet  
1971 | Algeria | 81 min 

Blending documentary with fiction, Mohamed Zinet’s unique film Tahia ya Didou is an exquisite appropriation ofa commission by the city of Algiers that doesn’t vacuously promote tourism but rather creates a poetic, acerbicand rapturous portrait of the director’s native city. The camera travels freely, through the port, market, streetsand cafés, capturing everyday people, some of whom recur frequently enough to seem like protagonists.

The nominal plotline follows a French tourist couple’s leisurely visit to the city, the man having previouslyserved in the army during the Algerian war. As they walk around, his comments betray his mindset’s racistcolonial prejudices, while his wife reiterates asinine clichés.   


Stories of the Dumpster Kid
Directors: Edgar Reitz, Ula Stöckl
1971 | Germany | 220 min

The Dumpster Kid (Kristine de Loup) grows from a placenta. Dr. Wohlfahrt from social services finds her on a hospital rubbish dump. In subsequent episodes, she looks for foster parents to take responsibility for the kid and integrate her into society. Dumpster Kid goes to school and to church.

Always dressed in a red dress and red tights, she is nosy about everything, asking a few too many questions and taking whatever she desires. She steals and has sex, seducing some and humiliating others. She meets Al Capone and d’Artagnan. She is always in danger, yet immortal.  


Shaihu Umar
Director: Adamu Halilu  
1976 | Nigeria | 142 min

Set in northern Nigeria towards the end of the 19th century, Shaihu Umar starts with a discussion between Islamic students and their renowned teacher, the wise man Shaihu Umar. Asked about his origins, Umar begins to tell his story: he comes from a modest background and is separated from his mother after his father diesand his stepfather is banished.

His subsequent trials and tribulations are marked by slavery, and he is put to any number of tests until hefinally becomes the adopted son of his Arabic master Abdulkarim. He attends Koran School and is made animam upon reaching adulthood. Following a particular dream, he resolves to search for his mother.

11 x 14 
Director: James Benning  
1977 | USA | 82 min | 35 mm  

11 x 14, the first feature-length film by James Benning, is film theory in images. It is composed of single shots,each of which individually narrate something and hold the film together via recurring elements. What isnarrated is pure form. 


Abnormal Family
Director:   Masayuki Suo
1984 | Japan |  63 min

The debut film of the future director of hit international comedy Shall We Dance? (1996) follows the antics of the five members of the model middle-class Mamiya family after the latest arrival into the household, the voluptuous new bride Yuriko of the over-sexed eldest son Koichi. Younger brother Kazuo sees his new sister-in-law as a possible source of release from study stress, while his sister Akiko dons her office lady uniform every morning and slips out of her family’s eyesight with a cheery smile, before heading straight to a workplace that offers much more in the way of financial incentive than the office.

Meanwhile, their father remains a silent fixture behind his newspaper, nodding sagely at the head of the table, while waxing wistfully about the owner of the local bar who reminds him of his dead wife.  




Reel Palestine 2018 

The independent and beloved film festival Reel Palestine is back this month in the UAE with its 4th edition, taking place between 19th and 27th January with film screenings in Dubai (Cinema Akil at The Yard in Alserkal Avenue), Sharjah (Mirage Cinema) and for the first time in Abu Dhabi (Manarat Al Saadiyat). 

I've been featuring this festival on the blog since it started (here, here and here) and seen it grow from a small screening space at thejamjar to having hundreds of attendess at outdoor screenings in Alserkal Avenue.

For this edition, I wanted to have a discussion with the team behind the festival, to talk about its origins and growth over the past few years, and to know more about how the festival has been engaging with its audiences and if it faces any challenges.  

I invited Dana Sadek, one of the co-founders of Reel Palestine to join me and Wael Hattar on our Tea with Culture podcast to talk about the festival. I invite you to listen to it here. It's important to know the importance of this festival to the audience in the UAE and what it means to the team behind it. We discuss the work that goes into it, some of the challenge and also the joy and connections it brings to the festival goers. 


This year's edition will open and close with Wajib, directed by Annemarie Jacir, which recently screened at Dubai International Film Festival where it won he film won Best Feature and its two leading actors, Mohammad Bakri and Saleh Bakri jointly winning the Best Actor award.  It's also one of my favourite films of 2017, and if you are in the UAE and missed out during DIFF, you will have two chances to watch Wajib at Reel Palestine. There's also a selection feature films, short films and critically acclaimed documentaries,

 Here's the full line up with dates and locations. All the screenings are free to attend. Click on the film titles for more information. 


19th January at 7:00 pm, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai
27th January at 8:00 pm, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah 


Directed by Annemarie Jacir
Drama | 2017 | 96 mins. | Arabic (English subtitles)    

The heart-warming story of the rediscovery and reconciliation of a troubled father-son relationship, ‘Wajib’ follows a day in the life of Abu Shadi and his son Shadi. With his sister’s wedding a month away, Shadi travels from his job as an architect in Rome to help his father in the customary hand-delivery of the wedding invitations.

As the estranged pair spend the day together, the tense details of their relationship come to a head, challenging their fragile and very different lives.


20th January 20th at 8:00 pm, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah
26th January 26th at 7:00 pm, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai   ​

Ghost Hunting
Directed by Raed Andoni
Documentary | 2017 | 94 mins | Arabic (English Subtitles)  

As a result of being jailed in the Shin Bet’s Al-Moskobiya investigation centre at the age of 18, director Raed Andoni has fragments of memories he cannot determine as real or imagined. In order to confront the ghosts that haunt him, Andoni decides to try to rebuild that mysterious place.

Responding to a job announcement seeking ex-inmates of Al-Moskobiya who have experience in construction, architecture, painting, carpentry and acting, a large group gathers in an empty yard near Ramallah. Together, they start a journey in which they rediscover the shape of their old prison, try to face the consequences of being under absolute control, and attempt to re-enact a story that took place inside the centre’s walls.


21st January at 7:30 pm, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai   

1948: Creation & ​Catastrophe
Directed by Ahlam Muhtaseb & Andy Trimlett
Documentary | 2016 | 84 mins | Arabic & English

Through riveting and moving personal recollections of both Palestinians and Israelis, 1948: Creation & Catastrophe reveals the shocking events of the most pivotal year in the most controversial conflict in the world. It tells the story of the establishment of Israel as seen through the eyes of the people who lived it. But rather than being a history lesson, this documentary is a primer for the present. It is simply not possible to make sense of what is happening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today without an understanding of 1948.   


22nd January at 7:30 pm, The Yard, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai    

The Villagers
Directed by Nidal Badarny  
Short | 2015 | 10 minutes | Arabic (English Subtitles)  

A tempestuous Palestinian love story alongside the ‘separation wall’. The story heads towards an end when Majdi decides to leave the country since his dreams and the plums can no longer find their space given the circumstances. His love, Salma, tries to stop him, but to no avail. Suddenly, Majdi and Salma escape from their secret love-nest near the wall, after ‘Abu Mustafa’ discovers their story.

The tragic love story ends and a new story begins with a new protagonist, Abu Mustafa, with the same wall that remains present in all details; giant, grey, absurd. Simply an absurd film, because cinema is frivolous; cinema is absurd.   


You Reap What You Sow
Directed by Alaa Ashkar
Documentary | 2016 | 70 minutes | Arabic (English Subtitles)

A Palestinian director living in France was about to start a documentary about the Palestinian memory. During his research for film locations in Galilee, his family who lives there expressed its concern about the idea of making the film.

The director decides to include his family in the scenario and ends up giving us an intimate story about the evolution of his identity, since his childhood within his protective family, until adulthood through his travels.   


23rd January at 7:30 pm, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai 

A series of Short Films


The Parrot
Directed by Darin J. Sallam, Amjad Al-Rasheed
Narrative | 2016 | 18 minutes | Arabic (English Subtitles) 

​Five Boys and a Wheel  
Directed by Said Zagha
Drama | 2016 | 20 mins / Arabic (English Subtitles) 

Directed by Ahmed Saleh
Drama | 2016 | 11 mins / Arabic (English Subtitles) 

Drowning Man
Directed by Mahdi Fleifel
Drama | 2017 | 15 mins | Arabic (English Subtitles) 

Beneath the Earth
Directed by Sami Alalul
Documentary | 2017 | 21 mins | Arabic (English Subtitles)  


23rd January at 7:30 pm, Manarat Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi   

Fire at Sea
Directed by Gianfranco Rosi
Documentary | 2016 | 114 mins / Italian & English  

Situated some 200km off Italy's southern coast, Lampedusa has hit world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe.

Rosi spent months living on the Mediterranean island, capturing its history, culture and the current everyday reality of its 6,000-strong local population as hundreds of migrants land on its shores on a weekly basis. The resulting documentary focuses on 12-year-old Samuele, a local boy who loves to hunt with his slingshot and spend time on land even though he hails from a culture steeped in the sea.  


25th January at 7:30 pm, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai  ​   

Stitching Palestine
Directed by Carol Mansour
Documentary | 2017 | 78 mins | Arabic (English Subtitles)

Twelve Palestinian women sit before us and talk of their life before the Diaspora, of their memories, of their lives and of their identity. Their narratives are connected by the enduring thread of the ancient art of embroidery.   ​

Twelve resilient, determined and articulate women from disparate walks of life: lawyers, artists, housewives, activists, architects, and politicians stitch together the story of their homeland, of their dispossession, and of their unwavering determination that justice will prevail. Through their stories, the individual weaves into the collective, yet remaining distinctly personal.  



Happy New Year 

Happy New Year. Hope 2018 bring us more joy and less pain. x


[Image from A Fantastic Woman (dir. Sebastián Lelio)]