After recently forging ties, the Dubai International Film Festival and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are co-presenting a two-day “Arab Cinema Classics” screening series at the Bing Theatre in Los Angeles this month.
Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri, a frequent Quentin Tarantino collaborator, will be on hand for a screening on June 21 of his largely autobiographical 1998 debut “West Beirut, about the roots of Lebanon’s Civil War.
Egyptian director Chadi Abdel Salem’s 1969 dreamlike drama “The Mummy,” recently restored by Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna with support from Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, and Egyptian master Youssef Chahine’s 1958 classic “Cairo Station” will both screen on June 13.
These titles are on the list of 100 Greatest Arab Films recently compiled by the Dubai fest in a book based on input from hundreds of experts being touted as the first project of this type in the Arab World. “The Mummy” (pictured) tops that list.
“DIFF’s ‘100 Greatest Arab Films’ list was created as a cultural touchstone for anyone with an interest in Arab cinema, or those discovering it for the first time,” noted Dubai fest chairman Abdulhamid Juma in a statement.
“The vibrancy of Arab cinema today owes much to the rich legacy and proud history of Arab filmmaking,” said Sid Ganis, chair of the AMPAS International Outreach Committee. “The Academy is pleased to embrace some of the region’s most influential films and artists through this Los Angeles presentation.”
The screening series is part of the Academy’s international outreach initiative. In December an AMPAS delegation, which included Ganis, travelled to the Dubai fest and announced that it has become the first event in the Middle East qualified to have its films compete in the short film category at the Oscars.