March 6th is the date all tickets to this year’s program will be released on, but already now we give you a taste of what Arab Film Days has to offer.
Want an early bird festival ticket? If you buy the festival ticket now you save just over 100 NOK! The festival ticket is personal, and gives you access to around 20 films divided among approximately 50 screenings over five days. The early bird festival ticket can be bought here.
NAILA AND THE UPRISING
Directed by Julia Nacha
Runtime 76 min
Through beautiful animation and exciting archive footage, director Julia Bacha tells an enchanting tale of how Naila Ayesh and a large number of other women stand on the barricades against the Israeli occupation during the first intifada. When Naila grows up in the West Bank, everything is controlled by the Israeli military. As a child, she experiences the family's house being demolished, which in many ways seals her political career. Many years later she meets her husband to be, Jamal, in Bulgaria. Both are politically active, and both will learn its consequences. Naila reaches the headlines when she miscarriages tied to a chair in an Israeli prison. And when Jamal refuses to pay tribute to Israel, he is deported. Not even this is enough to stop Naila and the other women. But one day there is news of a secret peace agreement, and on the return of the PLO leadership and the deported men, it is as if women's struggle is suddenly forgotten.
THE REPORTS ON SARAH AND SALEEM
Palestine, Germany, Netherlands
Directed by Muayad Alayan
Runtime 131 min
When the Jewish café owner Sarah tells her colleague that she has been unfaithful to her military husband, she doesn’t seem to care much. But as she adds that the man she had an affair with is Palestinian, the reaction is completely altered: “There are millions of Jewish men, and you choose an Arab!”, the colleague exclaims. The solely sexual affair between Sarah and Palestinian Saleem, dramatically evolves into an intricate game where both Israeli intelligence and Palestinian political groups are involved, after the two of them are observed together at a bar in Bethlehem. With pulsating Jerusalem as backdrop, we witness how the lives of the two title characters completely changing, while racism and violent tendencies on both sides are approaching the surface. The film is also a strong feministic comment, and it is the women in the film who look for rational solutions to the conflict.
WE COULD BE HEROES
Denmark, Morocco, Tunisia, Brazil
Directed by Hind Bensari
Runtime 80 min
Azzidine and Youssef are passionate about shot put. While Azzedine is the current world champion, his childhood friend Youssef is quite new in the game. Their goal is the Olympic Games in Rio. The problem is that they are competing on the Paralympic side, and the situation for disabled athletes in Morocco are, to put it mildly, challenging. Without either a professional support team, training facilities, or sufficient finances, the path towards the podium seems hopelessly long. But the Moroccan friends are used to fighting a fierce fight against discrimination and visibility in a society that has a long way to go towards ending up on the podium for inclusion of disabled people. Director Hind Bensari has made a heart-warming documentary about talent, camaraderie, discrimination and determination. An important film that is both touching and upsetting when we learn about the unfair treatment of the courageous athletes.
AMRA AND THE SECOND MARRIAGE
Directed by Mahmoud Sabbagh
Runtime 95 min
In the shadow of an increasingly brutal and suppressive regime, a quiet revolution is unfolding in the Saudi-Arabian film industry. After a 40-years long ban on cinema, film production and -screenings are allowed again in the largest country in the gulf region. This has resulted in films like Amra and the Second Marriage – a comedy on polygamy, with a feminist bite. The film is not anti-regime in the political sense but uses humour and satire to criticize the extreme patriarchy and general oppression of women in Saudi-Arabia. We follow Amra, who is in her mid-forties and married to Hilal, who treats her more like a housemaid than a soul mate. When Amra discover that Hilal plans to take a second, and much younger wife, she tilts. She uses all possible methods to stop the wedding and even starts to consider leaving Hilal entirely. The film has been described as “The Handmaid`s Tale rebooted as a comedy by the Coen brothers” and gives a unique insight into a closed society.