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Arab Film Festival Berlin highlights, plus a focus on Lebanon

Opening with Omar El Zohairy's 'Feathers', and closing with Iraqi filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi's 'Our River… Our Sky', there are lots of great Arab films in between screening soon in Berlin.
Arab Film Festival Berlin highlights, plus a focus on Lebanon

The Arab Film Festival Berlin (ALFILM) has announced the dates and details of its 13th edition, scheduled to take place from April 20-26, 2022. The festival will run screenings in Arsenal Cinema and City Kino Wedding in the German city and will feature a focus on Lebanon titled "Lebanon: From Civil War to Chaos, A Tribute to Filmic Resistance."

Also part of the festival, a group of twelve selected filmmakers from the Arab diaspora will work with experts during the two-day Atelier workshops. ALFILM will present more than 44 feature fiction, documentaries, shorts and animation films in its three sections: ALFILM Selection, ALFILM Spotlight, ALFILM Atelier during their 13th edition.

The ALFILM SPOTLIGHT dedicated to Lebanon is funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, with the support of Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient and under the patronage of Volker Schlöndorff. The focus section sheds light on the abuses and mismanagements that led to the current crisis Lebanon is battling, through the lens of filmmakers who creatively have taken their destinies into their own hands, transforming trauma and experiences into films and thus actively shaping resistance. Part of this programme are MIME favourites The Sea Ahead by Ely Dagher and Costa Brava, Lebanon by Mounia Akl.

Apart from kicking off with Memory Box by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (Lebanon/France/Canada/Qatar, 2021) which is the ALFILM SPOTLIGHT opening film, and questions the civil war’s memory as a central theme for the representation of contemporary history while dealing with the emotional consequences of war trauma, this great section also includes a vintage treat with Bourhane Alaouié’s Beirut, the Enconter (Lebanon/Belgium/Tunis, 1981). Already during the Civil War, the film spoke against the division of the Lebanese society and positioned itself strongly against sectarian tendencies.

The Spotlight’s panel discussions and masterclasses will run from April 22 to 24, where filmmakers, moderators, and representatives of ALFILM’s cooperation partners Beirut DC and the Cinematheque Beirut will explore, analyse and discuss the multiple roles of archives in developing counter-narratives. While also delving into the possibility of making films in times of crisis, as well as question whether cinematic memory works and the possibilities of creating a politically engaged cinema.

Other films in the selection include gems from Yemen, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia and beyond. Shorts like Don’t Get Too Comfortable by Yemeni artist and director Shaima Al Tamimi, feature documentaries such as Mariner of the Mountains by Brazilian-Algerian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz and narratives like Tunisian helmer Leyla Bouzid's A Tale of Love and Desire.

For the full programme and to purchase tickets, check out the ALFILM website.

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