The 71st Cannes Film Festival has announced their official selection and of the main films competing – 3 are directed by Arab filmmakers.
The festival, which runs from the 8th – 19th May 2018, will showcase Yomeddine by AB Shawky and Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum in the main competition for the respected Palme d’or title, and Sofia by Meryem Benm’Barek is part of the Un Certain Regard listing.
In comparison to the revered festival’s 2016 and 2017 editions, where there were barely a couple of Arab filmmakers making the cut, this year is seeing more diversity in the selections even though there is still a long way to go.
However, the Tribeca Film Festival didn’t see any films directed by Arabs, which gives us even more reason to celebrate the three Arabs filmmakers participating this year.
Egyptian filmmakerm Abu Bakr Shawky is best known for his movies Martyr Friday (2011) and Things I Heard On Wednesdays (2012). Yomeddine will be his first entry to Cannes and will tell the tale of a patient with leprosy who accompanies an orphan child on a journey across Egypt in search of his parents who gave him up.
Meryem Benm’Barek’s first feature film Sofia, conveys the story of a single mother to be in search of the father of her unborn child in order to avoid legal issues in the Muslim country. The film has been selected for the Certain Regard lineup and is the next Moroccan film to be selected since Nabil Ayouch’s 2015 entry, “Much Loved”.
Labaki is a Lebanese director who has shown at Cannes twice previously. First in 2007 with Caramel and Where Do We Go Now in 2011. Her latest release, Capernaum, is one of the three films directed by women in the 2018 Cannes lineup. The film, set in an anonymous Middle Eastern country, is a politically controversial one which tells the story of a child who launches a lawsuit.
With all the changes happening in Saudi Arabia, the film festival which takes place along the French Riviera, will also be screening short films from Saudi for the first time ever.