The 79th Venice International Film Festival… Arab presence

The 79th Venice International Film Festival… Arab presence
The 79th Venice International Film Festival… Arab presence

The activities of the 79th Venice International Film Festival, which started on Wednesday, August 31, and will continue until September 10, will continue in Venice. Hollywood cinema, Alpine productions), focusing a lot on the incredible magic of the event, movie screenings and their stars, with a constant interest in digital platforms, and making room for the presentation of her outstanding work.
This session came at a difficult time in Europe, with the Russian aggression on Ukraine entering its seventh month, with no signs of an end approaching. A month ago, during the press conference to announce the details of the new edition, the festival’s general director, Alberto Barbera, said that “European democracy is threatened by Putin’s imperialism.”
Barbera also confirmed that the festival administration stood by the three Iranian directors who were arrested by the Iranian authorities “because they only used their right of expression.” The festival is active to draw attention and express its solidarity with filmmakers who are under attack, in Iran and elsewhere, and will do so through two scheduled initiatives within the days of the event, with the aim of raising awareness in the media, governments and humanitarian organizations about their situation.
The jury will be led this year by American actress Julianne Moore, and its members include French director Audrey Diwan, Iranian actress Leila Hatami, Italian director and writer Leonardo Di Costanzo, Japanese-British novelist and writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature Kazuo Ishiguro, and Spanish director and screenwriter Rodrigo Soroguín. Argentine director and producer Mariano Cohen.
With regard to performances from the Middle East and North Africa, the film “Iron, Copper, Batteries” by Lebanese-French director Wissam Sharaf, which deals with an impossible love story in collapsing Lebanon, is starring a Syrian refugee and an Eritrean worker. The film was written by the director, in partnership with Hala Dabaji, Mariette Desire, and starring Clara Couture, Ziad Galad, Refaat Tarabay, and Darina El Gendy. The historical drama “The Last Queen” by the French-Algerians, Adela Bendemrad and Damien Onori, also shares a story that goes back to the sixteenth century, to tell the epic, at times legendary, and at times historical, tale about the last queens of Algeria. From Morocco, Faycal Boulifa’s “The Damned Don’t Cry,” which follows the story of a mother and her son, united, but apart at the same time, traveling through a Morocco riven by social and economic imbalances. And from Iran, he participates in the documentary “Wahdi” by Jafar Najafi, about a boy who tries to prevent the marriage of his younger sisters, trying to overturn the social base, and behind it the whole world. Armenian filmmaker Artavazd Pelician will also be honored with a selection of his films.
In addition to the aforementioned Arab films and names, other Arab participations are distributed in the rest of the festival sections. French-Algerian Rachid Hami is participating with his second feature film “For France” in the “Horizons” competition, which includes 21 films inside the official competition, along with 19 films outside it. The film, adapted from a true story, revolves around a young officer of Algerian origin who tragically loses his life during training at a prestigious French military academy, then the French army disavows responsibility for his death. The Egyptian Kawthar Younes is also participating with her short film “My Sahib” in the “Afaaq” competition for short films. In the “Additional Horizons” section, Syrian Soudade Kaadan participates in her film “Exodus”, after previously participating in the festival in 2019 with the film “The Day I Lost My Shadow”, and winning the “Lion of the Future” award for the best first work. Her new movie, starring Samer Al-Masry, Kinda Alloush, and Hala Al-Zein, is a metaphor for women’s liberation, set in the midst of the Syrian conflict in Damascus, about a family that decides to stay in the besieged area. Also within the “Extra Horizons” competition, Iraqi Ahmed Darraji’s “Hanging Gardens” is participating in his first feature-length fiction experience.
In the “Critics Week” section, Moroccan director Yasmine Benkirane’s film “Queens” was chosen to conclude its activities, and it is the director’s first directing experience in the world of feature films for the director, after she presented her short film “Winter Hour” in 2018. The film’s story revolves around 3 Young women are being pursued by the police on a long walk that will cross the Atlas Mountains, its red rocks and its flowering valleys, to arrive at the last stage in southern Morocco.
Eight films, including 6 films by directors from the Arab world, from Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Algeria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, including 3 feature films and 4 feature-length documentaries, competed in the Final Cut Workshop Awards at the Venice Festival dedicated to supporting films from the Middle East and North Africa region. Post-filming, the prize money of which is $100,000.
This year’s edition sees French cinema icon Catherine Deneuve crowned with the “Golden Lion” award in honor of her career spanning more than five decades, and the same award will be won by American writer and director Paul Schrader. The festival will also award a special prize to American director Walter Hill, whose new film “Death for a Dollar” will be screened out of competition.

The article is in Arabic

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