Thessaloniki focuses on Middle East

Twelve films from region to be shown

MOSCOW — The Middle East will be in focus at November’s 49th Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival in Greece, with a spotlight showcasing a dozen films from 10 countries in the region.

“The Middle East, with its political, religious and social struggles, lies in close geographical proximity to Greece and possesses vital contemporary political significance,” the festival said in a statement.

“It exhibits a cinematic diversity that creates portraits of many distinct histories, identities and conflicts and it is now more than ever revealing its issues and sentiments through the cinemas of its different nations.”

All the films, apart from one, have been selected from works produced over the past three years.

The exception, being screened as a tribute, is the 1978 film “Alexandria…Why? (Iskanderija… lih?), by Youssef Chahine, the renowned Egyptian director, who died last month.

Other films in the spotlight are: “Aquarium” (Genenet Al-Asmak), by Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah; “Salt of This Sea” (Milh Hadha Al-Bahr), by Palestine’s Annemarie Jacir; “Waltz With Bashir,” by Israeli director Ari Folman; Iraqi director Mohamed Al-Daraji’s documentary “War, Love, God and Madness” and his feature “Dreams (Ahlaam)”; “American East,” by U.S.-based Egyptian director Hisham Issawi; “Captain Abu Raed” by Jordanian director, Amin Matalqa; “Out of Coverage” by Syrian helmer Abdullatif Abdulhamid; “Under the Bombs” (Sous les Bombes), by Lebanon’s Philippe Aractingi; “Akamas” by Cypriot director, Panicos Chrysanthou; and “A New Day In Old Sana’a,” by Yemeni director Bader Ben Hirsi.

The Middle East Spotlight will be accompanied by a festival publication on the films and filmmakers and a roundtable focusing on the present and future of Middle Eastern cinema.

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