There is a new must-watch series coming to Netflix on March 10th. Through eight short films, directed by award-winning and Oscar-nominated directors from six different Arab countries, we are promised a sometimes dark, sometimes humorous and often seriously insightful look at Love, Life & Everything in Between in the MENA region.
All the stories are connected through the thread that they take place on Valentine’s Day and are meant to provide a special look at love, through the eyes of filmmakers hailing from various part of the world, but also different generations. The Netflix press release points out that "the events of each story take place on Valentine’s Day, a time that challenges lead characters to express love, understand it and live it within unique situations that come with unexpected twists and turns. Audiences are captivated by relatable emotions, familiar settings and the unmatched talents of actors and directors alike.”
The filmmakers featured in the series are Khairy Beshara (from Egypt), Sandra Bassal (from Egypt), co-directors and real-life couple Hany Abu-Assad and Amira Diab (from Palestinine) Michael Kammoun (from Lebanon), Mahmoud Sabbagh (from Saudi Arabia), Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan (from Saudi Arabia), Kaouther Ben Hania (from Tunisia), and Hicham Lasri (from Morocco).
Hany Abu-Assad's latest is Huda's Salon, which is about to be distributed in the US. He is of course the Palestinian filmmaker behind Paradise Now (2005), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006, and Omar (2013). Kaouther Ben Hania's 2020 film The Man Who Sold His Skin was also nominated for an Academy Award.
About her work titled Baby doll & Lamb chops Kaouther Ben Hania said: “Valentine’s Day is a holiday that requires spending, and money is bound to be the quintessential proof of love. Penniless, our hero must find a way to buy a gift for his wife.”
Falafel (2006) filmmaker Michel Kammoun's film The Big Red Heart uses the desire of falling in love through the many adventures by his lead character, Sami, as he delivers a Valentine’s Day gift to his clients.
Produced by Union of Video & Filmmakers with Project Producer Antoine Khalife, the series will be available in 190 countries on Netflix, subbed in 33 languages, and dubbed to five.
The list of all eight episodes:
National Day of Mourning in Mexico
Written by: Nura ElSheikh
Directed by: Khairy Beshara
Main Cast: Asser Yassin – Nadah El Shazly – Aly Sobhy – Nura Cheichaa
The Big Red Heart
Main Cast: Elie Njeim – Fadi Abi Samra – Rita Hayek – Alain Saadeh – Mohamad Akil – Issam Bou Khaled
Written & Directed by: Michel Kammoun
Written & directed by: Hicham Lasri
Main Cast: Lotfi – Nasser Akabab – Fatima Zahraa Quanboua – Gourbatchev
Written by: Amira Diab
Directed by: Amira Diab – Hany Abu Assad
Main Cast: Amer Hlehel – Shaden Kanboura – Samer Bisharat – Samah Mahmoud – Manal Awad
Written & Directed by: Mahmoud Sabbagh
Main Cast: Dhay AlHelaly – Sami Hanafy – Oum Kalthoum Sara Brad – Ismail AlHassan
Written by: Mohamed AlHamoud – Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan
Directed by: Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan
Main Cast: Mishal AlMutairi – Reem Habib
Baby doll & Lamb chops
Written & directed by: Kaouther Ben Hania
Main Cast: Abdelhamid Bouchnak – Mourad Gharsalli – Nadim Cheikhrouha – Anissa Daoud – Fatma Felhi – Hela Ayed -Jihed Cherni – Slym Achour
Directed by: Sandra Bassal
Written by: Rafik Morkos
Main Cast : Ahmed Ezz- Passant Shawky- Salah Abdallah- Adham Hossam
All images courtesy of Netflix.