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Our pick of Arab docs 1

Monday 23 September 2019, by Abla Kandalaft

We’ve been watching recently - and not quite yet - released documentaries by Arab filmmakers. We’ll be posting our picks and where to find them in the next few days and weeks, starting with the below.

Counting Tiles, dir. Cynthia Choucair

Lebanese filmmaker Cynthia Choucair travels to the Greek island of Lesvos with her sister, a member of Clowns Without Borders, volunteers who seek to bring a bit of laughter and levity to the refugees that have ended up there. Once they arrive on the island, they are met with closed gates and piles of life jackets, and the new restrictions and policies introduced by the EU. As they attempt to negotiate the red-tape separating them from the refugees they try to reach, the two sisters reflect on their own history of displacement following the war in Lebanon. Moving, with some beautiful contemplative sequences that allow us as viewers the same space to reflect on the plight of people forced to flee their homes.

State of Siege, dir. Wassim Safadi

This doc is freely available on YouTube until the end of October 2019, so make sure you catch it in time.

Safadi’s short doc gives us a personal account of an oft-ignored community: the Syrians living in the occupied Golan Heights, currently caught between instability in Syria, their own various allegiances and the perils of Israeli occupation. The slightly lo-fi aspects of the production are overshadowed by the unprompted, raw, intimate conversations and interjections of the residents interviewed by Safadi, allowing us a privileged and powerful glimpse into the mundane reality of their everyday existence.

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