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
I’d long heard about the Rotterdam International Film Festival and yet had never personally been here. IFFR will hereafter be a much craved stop on my itinerary of world cinema events. I can’t wait to see what next year has in store.
So what makes this cinephiles’ festival filled with independent gems, languid culture-filled days and inspiring evening talks by the masters so addictive? Well, that — what I just said. Turns out there is no festival in the world quite like IFFR.
And here are a few favorites of mine from this year’s edition.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
The winner of the Palme d'Or has been announced and predictably, it's still a male-directed project. There are too few opportunities for us women around and when one of us seizes the chance, we must deal with men (boys?) putting up passive aggressive resistance all the way, and other women trying to take us down.
So, in my humble opinion this "5050X2020" movement which culminated as a red carpet moment may be fun to say and bound to light up with feminine glamour the famous staircase in Cannes, but it is not going anywhere until we aggressively and definitely take up our rightful place.
And yes, call me angry, go ahead. Make my day.Read More
This year the festival holds a lot of promise. Arab cinema is at its center with an unprecedented two films in Competition, Nadine Labaki's 'Capharnaüm' and Abu Bakr Shawky's 'Yomeddine', while there are of course quite a few other titles sprinkled among the sidebars, including Mohamed Ben Attia's 'Weldi'. A newly formed Saudi Film Council is occupying a harbor-side pavilion and offering wonderful panels (including one on Sunday the 13th at 11 moderated by yours truly and featuring Annemarie Jacir, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Lamia Chraibi and TIFF's own Cameron Bailey) as well as much welcomed Arabic coffee and dates. When I dropped by on a late afternoon I really cherished that cardamom and saffron infused shot of Arabia and the hospitality brought me back to my days in the Gulf.Read More
I know that a Diaries series is meant to go chronologically, yet there are moments when the rules need to be broken.
For me, hearing master photographer and longtime Doha Film Institute collaborator Brigitte Lacombe talk about cinema and fashion from a photographic point of view was one such moment. I could not wait to get home and write about the pleasant afternoon I spent in her company -- along with a theater-full of attendees of this Qumra talk -- and her sister's, video photographer Marian Lacombe.Read More