Arab (Cinematic) Spring in the Heart of Winter


Winter is upon us but the Arab Spring appears to be lingering on in the air. Tomorrow (Nov 2), Radu Mihăileanu’s latest film La Source des Femmes will open in Paris as Berlin celebrates the 3rd Arab Film Festival.

Romanian-born French director Mihăileanu is best known for his comedy Le Concert (2009) which was about an internationally renowned conductor of the Bloshoi orchestra whose career was ruined for hiring Jewish musicians. La Source des Femmes is another comedy that takes place in a small North African village where women sex strike against having to deliver water from a distant well. The film opened in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2011.

The mission of the Arab Film Festival Berlin is to promote “any film – long or short – of an Arab director, produced in an Arabic country, has mainly Arabic dialog, or relates to an Arabic matter; and not older than three years.” Organised by the Cinemaiat Friends of the Arab Cinematheque, the Festival’s FOKUS is on humor “in all of its forms – comic, political satire, wit, sarcasm, subtle irony and black humor.” This is one way of confronting the popular conception that Arabs don’t have a sense of humour. As an American (of Iranian origin), I for one will be watching representations of Arab humour in the capital of Germany – a country least known for its own sense of humour – as I keep my wits about me.

ALFilm will also hold a RETROSPEKTIVE of works by two pioneers of Lebanese cinema, Borhan Alaouié (b. 1941) and Maroun Baghdadi (1950-1993).


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