Now in its second year, the Arab Film Competition at the 2011 Doha Tribeca Film Festival, will feature 14 films, eight of which will be making their world premieres.
The competition has noticeably expanded since launching last year. The Arab Competition is now split into two juried segments (narrative and documentary) and there are a new slew of awards up for grabs including: Best Arab Narrative Feature; Best Arab Narrative Director; Best Narrative Performance Award; Best Arab Documentary Feature; and Best Arab Documentary Director.
Leading this year’s jury will be Syrian director Mohammed Malas (“Dreams of the City,” “The Night”).
Below is the full list of titles competing in the Arab Film Competition with synopses provided by the festival:
Arab Film Competition: Narrative
“A Man of Honor” (Jean-Claude Codsi)
Set in Lebanon and Jordan, A Man of Honor is the story of passion, betrayal and the many facets of human nature. Brahim has a chance encounter with a mysterious woman he knew 20 years ago. Because of her, he committed a murder and now has to return home to face his tumultuous past
“Red Heart” (Halkawt Mustafa)
After the death of her mother, 19 year old Shirin discovers her father plans to trade her for a new wife. Unable to accept this, she escapes to the big city with her secret boyfriend. When he is arrested, Shirin must face the dangers and challenges of this new life, alone and without protection.
“How Big Is Your Love” (Fatma Zohra Zamoum)
One day when Adel’s parents quarrel, they send him to his grandparents for the weekend. Two days turn into a week and soon Adel feels like he’s lived there forever. In an attempt to grow closer, his grandparents teach and involve him in their everyday lives, in this poignant and touching story about childhood and love set in modern day Algiers.
“Lust” (Khaled El Hagar)
Winner of the Golden Pyramid – Best International film at the Cairo International Film Festival in 2010; El Shooq / Lust, brings us into the lives of the inhabitants of a marginalised street in Alexandria, in Egypt, before the revolution. Each character is isolated in his or her fierce, yet fragile dreams. The main story focuses on Umm Shooq, a woman whose sense of shame and inadequacy drives her to gain leverage over her family and neighbors.
“Smuggler’s Song” (Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche)
A story about the famous mid-eighteenth century French hero Louis Mandrin and the exploits of his companions as they set out on a risky smuggling campaign in the French Provinces to win their fortune by selling tobacco, fabric and precious products.
“Normal” (Merzak Allouache)
After the riots of December and the first peaceful marches, while “the Arab Spring” begins in Tunisia and Egypt, Fouzi brings his actors, together to show them the incomplete editing of the film he made, two years ago, on the disillusionment of a youth seeking to express his artistic ideas.
“Omar Killed Me” (Roschdy Zem)
The film tracks the investigation of a gardener wrongly convicted for the murder of his employer, a rich heiress. The narrative highlights the universal problem of social injustice, and deciphers two standards of justice – one for the powerful and one for the poor.
Arab Film Competition: Documentary
“Rouge Parole” (Elyes Baccar)
A look at the Tunisian people expressed by themselves during the turbulence of the revolution in Tunisia and the expulsion of President Ben Ali charting Tunisia’s frst steps towards democracy and a multicultural society.
“The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni” (Rania Stephan)
The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is an elegy to a rich and versatile era of film production in Egypt which has lapsed today, through the work of this celebrated Egyptian actress. Pieced exclusively from VHS tapes of her films, it tells the story of her career up until her tragic death.
“Yearning” (Lina Alabed)
Yearning is a documentary about the actual role and margin of freedom women have in a male-dominated society, and how that reflects on their femininity and relationship with themselves.
“Crayons of Askalan” (Laila Hotait Salas)
The story of Zuhdi Al Adawi, a Palestinian artist imprisoned in the occupied territories who uses his art as a means of expression helped by the rest of the community and his own family to accomplish his work.
“The Virgin, The Copts and Me” (Namir Abdel Messeeh)
Namir is a French filmmaker Of Egyptian origin. One day, with his mother, he watches a videotape of the Virgin Mary’s apparition in Egypt. His mother, like millions of other Copts, (Egypt’s Christians) sees the Virgin on the screen – while he sees nothing. Skeptical about this videotape, Namir travels back to Egypt, to make a film about these apparitions.
“Boxing With Her” (Latifa Robbana Doghri and Salem Trabelsi)
A look at the world of female boxing and how the presence of a female body in the pugilistic arena is still awkward and even taboo in Arab society.
“On the Road to Downtown” (Sherif El Bendary)
Down Town in Cairo is a neighborhood full of diversity, contradictions and different personalities. The film looks at the world and its complexities through the daily lives of characters from the neighborhood.