In 2023, several Arab films won international festivals and received awards confirming their high artistic value.
Despite the technological successes, the numbers are very few; Unlike international lists, where viewers may have difficulty choosing among a large number of works, Arabic films include a group of works that are difficult to finalize a list of 10 films.
Below, we review the most important Arab films shown in 2023:
1- Goodbye Julia (Sudan)
“Goodbye Julia” by director Mohamed Kortobani has traveled extensively between international and local festivals. A journey that began at the Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the “Un Certain Record” and “Golden Camera” awards. It became the first Sudanese film to be screened during the festival and later traveled to “Chicago”. “Palm Springs” and “Warsaw” festivals, and finally the official El Gouna Film Festival entered the competition.
“Goodbye Julia” is an example of localism leading to globalism. The film starring Iman Yusuf and Shiran Riaq; She presented a simple story of friendship that brought together two Sudanese women, one from the north and the other from the south, but the relationship epitomized the differences between the two regions and some of the animosity that persisted for generations, eventually leading to Sudan. Separation.
The specialness of “Goodbye, Julia” appears on several levels. Beginning with a scene that focuses on the specific logic of each action and reaction of the characters, the photography and sound tapes contrast and point between the two parts and the representation of the two actresses is more complex. The characters, each of them have their own terrifying secrets, which affect the relationship, but that does not prevent them from communicating as women. In the end, they become victims of this conflict, above all this is the vision of director Mohamed Kortobani. , his debut film which turned out to be a great start to a strong future career.
2- White Lie (Morocco)
The Moroccan documentary “White Lies” traveled as well as “Goodbye Julia” and may be richer for winning two awards at the Cannes Film Festival for “Golden Eye” and “Un Certain Regard.” Competition for director titles in addition to awards and nominations. In many ceremonies.
The film combines documentary and animation at the same time. The director, the director, created a small model of his family and made dolls for each one, while this family represents another small model of Moroccan society. Faced with a simple plot, it forces the viewer to use his mind to understand the complex relationships of this family.
Director Asma Al-Modir is the daughter of a simple Moroccan family, controlled by a tyrannical old woman, from whom no one escapes, and in the past, this old lady forced the family members to trust and not stand in front of the camera. Myths about this tool that can steal lives, but decades later we find this woman, she and the rest of the family are forced to stand in front of the granddaughter's movie camera and recall the memories and lies they have hidden with her.
“White Lies” has become a beacon of hope for a different future for Morocco, thanks to the extreme openness of the director and his family and his wit in retelling certain historical events.
3- Bye Bye Tiberias (Palestine)
Another documentary joins this list, the film “Bye Bye Tiberias” directed by Lina Savalem, which Palestine chose to represent it at the Oscars for Best International Film through its own travel between various festivals. In addition to the El Qauna Film Festival, the work was shown at the Venice, Toronto and London Film Festivals within the framework of the Parallel Program for Palestinian Films.
Bye Bye Tiberias presents a double plot; It tells the story of 4 generations of women in the director's family: great-grandmother, “Umm Ali,” then the director's grandmother, “Namad,” and his mother, international actress Hiam Abbas, and finally himself, but these women's stories intersect with a larger story, the story of Palestine, From the Nakba to today.
No Palestinian woman's story can be isolated from the impact of the occupation, even in the simple things of life, as a result of the Nakba, the grandmother left her Tiberias town, “Deir Hanna,” and her daughter, “Nimat,” left school and the future she once dreamed of. Because of the Israeli presence, the young woman, “ Hiam” Abbas felt a yearning for escape, seeking what she called “fresh air.” She began her career as an actress, and after she spent her first year in Palestine absorbing the history of previous generations of women in her family and retelling their stories with great sensitivity, she became “Lina.” She gave birth to a daughter, enthralling the audience all over the world.
4- Night Representative (Saudi Arabia)
From Saudi Arabia comes the film “Night Representative”, which was shown during the Turin Film Festival and later competed for the Best Film Award at the Zurich Film Festival. It was directed by Ali Al-Khalthami and co-written with Muhammad Al-Gharawi. , and starring Muhammad Al-Toki.
The events of the film Fahd, a low-income and talented Saudi youth, is fired from his job due to reckless behavior. He goes to work as a delivery man and robs an illegal liquor factory that leads him. Take part in many adventures with the criminal or his family in different levels.
The film “Night Representative” integrated a tight atmosphere into its plot, dialogue and character development, in addition to a different portrayal of the city of Riyadh, the director presented its famous neighborhoods and night world. The lives of marginalized and low-income residents compete on a daily basis with those of class and economic privilege.
5- Dancing on the edge of the volcano (Lebanon)
The Lebanese film “Dancing on the Edge of the Volcano” tells the story of the making of another film, “Costa Brava,” but this story is only the threshold of the text, or the entry of the original story as director Cyril Aris prefers. to present; The story of his favorite city, Beirut, about which he previously produced “Beirut I Love You”.
“Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano” premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, where it received special mentions from the jury. The work begins with a watershed moment in the life of the city, after the Beirut port explosion. It becomes the straw that breaks the back of the city dwellers.Corona epidemic victims in 2020.
The film examines that period against the backdrop of the filming of the movie “Costa Brava,” which provided a vivid Beirut story about the lives of city dwellers suffering from pollution, disaster and the effects of multiple civil wars. The viewer finds himself confronted with a multi-layered plot that not only presents the story of a film, but also captures a moment in time.
The absence of an Egyptian film in the list of the best Arab films of 2023 seems noticeable, indicating a decline in the level of “East Hollywood” films this year, and the tendency of most of them to repeat certain themes and cinematic genres. In addition to modest enforcement, Sudanese and Saudi cinema have participated in previous years, while seeing great awareness.
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