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These 5 Arab Films Are Going To The Venice Film Festival This Year

Lebanese filmmaker Mounia Akl

The Venice Film Festival takes place annually to showcase some of the world’s most noteworthy film talent. For 2021’s edition, there are 5 Arab films representing the region from directors including, Mounia Akl, Diana El Jeiroudi, Shaima El Tamimi and Mohamed Diab. Click through to meet the brilliant minds.

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“Costa Brava, Lebanon”- Mounia Akl

Premiering under the Horizons Extra category at the Venice Film Festival, is Mounia Akl and co-writer, Clara Roquet’s “Costa Brava, Labanon.” The film features award winning Lebanese actress and filmmaker, Nadine Labaki, and Saleh Bakri, Nadia Charbel, Ceana Restom, Geana Restom, Liliane Chacar Khoury, Yumna Marwan in its cast. The film’s narrative is set around the Badri family, who leave the capital city of Beirut to live in the mountains, finding an escape from pollution. However, they face new problems when a new landfill is built on the doorstep of their new home. Speaking about the narrative, Mounia Akl says, “I try to look at a family’s structure in hopes of mirroring the one of our society. Once this family is fractured, it can reinvent itself with less lies and more selfless love.”

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“Amira” - Mohamed Diab

“Amira,” by Mohamed Diab, is set in Palestine and tells the coming of age story of 17 year old Amira who is search of her identity. The film stars Tara Abboud as Amira and was co-written by Diab and his brother and sister, Khaled and Sherine Diab. “Amira is a microcosmic exploration of the division and xenophobia that exists in today’s world. In the process of unraveling our heroine’s identity, the film begs the question, is hatred nature or nurtured?” says a statement from Diab. “Amira” has received nominations for the Venice Film Festival’s Orizzonti Award under various categories.

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“Descente (4 AM)” - Mehdi Fikri

Mehdi Fikri’s “Descente (4 AM)” is a short film set in France in 2015 following the Paris terror attacks. The film explores Fikri’s vision for a “single, long take that traps the audience in the sensory and ethical turmoil within a police search.” The film is also nominated for an Orizzonti Award under the category for Best Short Film.

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“Republic of Silence” - Diana El Jeiroudi

Diana El Jeiroudi is a Syrian filmmaker and her documentary, “Republic of silence,” will be screened in the Out Of Competition Nonfiction category. Her film tells the personal story of her childhood in Syria and her exile in Berlin, Germany, forty years later. The film’s narrative promises “a first-person narrative which pendulates between a perspective that is timelessly personal and intimate, and another which is, on the contrary, very vast, contemporary and political.” Diana El Jeiroudi was also the first Syrian juror at the Cannes Film Festival as well as the first Syrian member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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“Don’t Get Too Comfortable” - Shaima El Tamimi

Another non-fiction piece of work, Shaima El Tamimi’s “Don’t Get Too Comfortable” is a documentary short film and is the first Yemeni film to ever be showcased at Venice Film Festival. Its synopsis reads that the film is a “heartfelt introspective letter” to El Tamimi’s late grandfather. In an official statement, the El Tamimi says, “Through this work I am hoping to draw attention to ongoing Yemeni migration, encouraging greater recognition of our stories and fostering space for collective healing among Yemeni migrants and their descendants.” It has also received a nomination for the Festival’s Orizzonti Award in the category for Best Short Film.

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