In March of 2020 a revolution will begin in Saudi Arabia. But the country’s royal family and even that now infamous bad boy MBS — as the crown prince is known for short — needn’t worry about getting ready with armies and bodyguards. They just need to sit back, relax and enjoy the show.Read More
In ‘Family Romance, Llc’ Werner Herzog finds a new way to work through the difficulties life throws our way — outsource them to an agency specializing in family connections. He does it with his usual flair for our human ridiculousness and making the impossible seem real. During the junket following the screening, I loved listening to my esteemed colleagues’ confused explanations of stories they thought they’d seen like this one in documentaries, or even completely convinced this was a reality film, instead of fiction. And Herzog himself quite perfectly, calmly and smoothly shooting down each and all of their perplexed ideas.
‘Family Romance, Llc’ was a Special Screening at this year’s Festival de Cannes.Read More
Ever since its creation in 2010 on the peninsular country of Qatar, the Doha Film Institute has been revolutionizing cinema in the Region. The word “revolution” is never a sign of good things in the Arab world and yet at DFI, they should welcome the term when it comes to describing the work they’ve been doing almost singlehandedly to create and foster a healthy cinema culture in the Arab world. And beyond.Read More
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Actually, this edition of the Festival de Cannes turned out to be a missed opportunity, for media and juries alike to truly take charge of the #TimesUp movement and make of it a lasting course instead of a passing trend. Yes, there were stairs filled with women in pretty dresses, there were hotlines that we could call if we felt threatened or harassed, but ultimately the big prizes went to the big boys. As they have for every edition of the festival, except once, in 1993 when Jane Campion made history as the first and only woman to win the Palme d’Or.
Yet personally, I loved Cannes more than ever this year. I had a soft place to fall, in the form of a wonderful group of friends I spent my free time with, eating dinners we cooked together and drinking our morning coffee back at our cozy apartment with one breathtaking view. I mean, just look at the Disney fireworks for 'SOLO: A Star Wars Story' display from our terrace!Read More
“Are you ready for us to make history again?!”
As I stepped into one of the magnificent Majlis — literally translating as a “place of sitting” from the Arabic — a meeting room inside the Madinat Jumeirah complex to catch up with the Chairman of the Dubai International Film Festival, Abdulhamid Juma uttered those words. I was taken aback for a moment and then I remembered that throughout the six years I’ve attended DIFF, I’ve sat down with him and together, we’ve come up with some of best questions about Arab cinema, its place in the world and its importance in dispelling stereotypes and breaking down walls.
This year, I came to DIFF with a heavy heart and I leave it still wondering if all the efforts — personal and collective have been worth it. We’ve witnessed how easily the mighty of the film stratosphere can be taken down in Hollywood when no longer of use to their business partners, destroying careers that should be looked at with respect, regardless of these men’s questionable behavior. We seem to have forgotten that “the casting couch” is a term as old as the movies themselves. Now we just “throw out the baby with the bathwater” as the old saying goes...Read More
Anyone who has ever had to travel for work knows, deeply and personally, how important a hotel room can be.
For me, while I spent eight nights and nine days at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival, the Mina A’Salam hotel, in Madinat Jumeirah provided a home away from home, the perfect place to get away from it all and write, not to mention my very own soft place to fall. All rolled up into the perfectly glamorous package of a luxury 5-star plus hotel.Read More
What is heritage and how important is our connection to the past in shaping who we will be in the future? And if our ideals seem to clash with what our leaders are encouraging, or we simply can see beyond the chaos — are we right? Or does that make us just different... Those are all questions that have come up in the last 48 hours for me, at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival.Read More
Lets face it, it’s a frightening time to be alive. If a certain North Korean dictator doesn’t nuke us into oblivion first, maybe the recent decision regarding the status of Jerusalem by our President might just turn the wraths of the entire Muslim world population upon us. Admit it, you’re beginning to think this way, even if just a little bit...
And yet, here I am in the midst of the Arab world and film, the power of great cinema is helping me to get a grip on what it’s really like, once we step away from the frenzy of inflated CNN headlines and the anger that these days appears to be the sole motivation for so much around us. Because when we dig deep into our collective hearts, we all feel the same way, and if poked, we all bleed the same color blood.
Even Shakespeare knew that to be true, more than five hundred years ago.Read More