Director Mohamed Siam wanted to make a film about youth, anger and change, and decided to tell the story of Amal, a 14-year-old girl in Egypt. The result is the coming of age-story Amal, which begins in 2011 with the Arab Spring, and follows Amals experiences of the protests at the Tahrir Square in Cairo. Amal is encouraged by her follow protesters to stay at home because of her gender, but she refuses to be silenced and restrained. Director Siam catches on camera how she furiously throws herself into the revolution and screams at a police officer before she is brutally pulled by her hair across the street.
The documentary follows the country’s development seen through Amal’s eyes over the course of five years. And as the country is changing, so is Amal and her view on the political situation. Amal has become a powerful symbol of a whole generation, which tries to find a place in the junction between the dreams of change from the Arab Spring and the hard reality.
Amal was the opening film at the prestigious documentary festival IDFA in November, and is shown for the first time in Norway during Arab Film Days. The documentary is supported by Sørfond. Amal is co-produced by Ingrid Lill Høgtun from Barentsfilm.
FRIDAY APRIL 20th
5.30 pm Q&A with director Mohamed Siam after the screening of Amal. Buy tickets for the screening here.
SATURDAY APRIL 21th
7.00 pm Q&A with director Mohamed Siam after the screening of Amal. Buy tickets for the screening here.
SUNDAY APRIL 22th
1.00 pm Q&A with director Mohamed Siam after the screening of Amal. Buy tickets for the screening here.
21 year-old Mariam attends a party at a discotheque on the grounds of her school, during which her dress tears and she has to borrow a more revealing outfit from a co-student. In the darkness of the party she meets a handsome, young man named Youssef. Together they head to the beach for a walk, which ends with Mariam being raped by two police officers passing by. Mariam and Youssef spend the rest of the night in a fight for justice at the police station, a private clinic, and a public hospital. The two are thrown around in an unruly system where people would rather protect their own interests than help a woman who has been raped.
Beauty and the Dogs consists of nine scenes, each filmed in a long take; an effective move that adds to the sense of authenticity and closeness to everything that happens. You can almost smell the cold hospital corridors, the sweat of people dancing, and the leather draping the back seats of cars. Director Kaouther Ben Hania succeeds in challenging aspects of the Tunisian society dominated by conservative, patriarchal forces. In her international directorial breakthrough, she shows herself as a brave voice in Arab cinema.
The film is supported by Sørfond. Beauty and the Dogs is co-produced by Jørgen and Nefise Özkal Lorentzen from Integralfilm AS.
Five years after her previous feature film, Annemarie Jacir returns with Wajib, a well-crafted family drama that reflects everyday life for Palestinians under Israeli rule. Shadi, a Palestinian architect living in Italy, has returned to his home town Nazareth for the wedding of his sister Amal. While driving around town with his father, handing out wedding invitations, Shadi is forced once again to relate to the things he dislikes about the town he has left behind: the complicated relationship to his father, the conservative attitudes of their neighbours, and the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians.
Wajib (Arabic for 'duty') is a plain-spoken and visually subtle film that pays great attention to detail in its depiction of Shadi and his complex relationship to his father and to the land. It is also an excellent showcase for Annemarie Jacir's ability to craft a good script and to work with her actors to portray the characters as nuanced as possible. The leading acts, Mohammad and Saleh Bakri, are father and son also in real life, and their characters come across as real people of flesh and blood, as do the many supporting characters.
The film is supported by Sørfond. Wajib is co-produced with Ruben Thorkildsen from Ape&Bjørn.
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