As I learned at this year’s Qumra, held by the Doha Film Institute, the grand dame of French New Wave cinema Agnès Varda was all about finding the stories, the viewpoints that no one else would bother with. The Festival de Cannes, in its poster just unveiled for the 72nd edition of the festival, pays homage to La Varda but also to her indomitable spirit by showing the filmmaker on her first cinematic venture perched high up on a platform, atop the shoulders of a crew technician. She’s is looking to capture that image, that viewpoint which no one else would have even thought about. She is Varda, in all her perfectly humble and adventurous attitude. The same Varda who asked me, to my utter disbelief, if I’d liked her “little film” a few years ago in Cannes.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
There are several films this year at the Berlinale that explore the theme of family. Or rather, set out to redefine it. In 'Daughter of Mine', Laura Bispuri asks, cinematically, just who our mother is -- the woman who physically brings us into this world, or the person who rears us? For most of us they are both within one person, but in rare cases, it's not.
Also present during this 68th edition of the Berlin Film Festival is a sub current of childhood, attempting to view this chaotic, pretty damn ugly world of ours at the moment through a child's eye view. Wes Anderson kicked that off in style with the opening film 'Isle of Dogs' and now I keep finding myself looking at what I watch from his "I don't want to grow up" POV.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