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SHUBBAK: ‘A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture’

Saturday 4 July 2015, by Abla Kandalaft

Shubbak (meaning ‘window’ in Arabic) is London’s largest festival of contemporary Arab culture. For its third edition, which runs from the 11-26 July, Shubbak asked renowned Palestinian director Michel Khleifi to curate its main film programme. It will include some of his own work and a selection of Arab and European films. The running themes are representations of Palestine, the emancipation of women and representations of Arabs in European cinema.

Screenings will be held across a number of London venues, including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Ciné Lumière at the French Institute, the Barbican and an homage to Michel Khleifi will see a number of his films screened at the Mosaic Rooms.

The film programme kicks off on 12 July with Visions of Palestine, a triple bill of documentaries exploring different facets of Palestine: Pasolini’s Location Hunting in Palestine (1965), Chris Marker’ Description of a Struggle (1961) and Michel Khleifi’s Ma’loul Celebrates its Destruction (1984).

The screenings will be followed by a discussion with Michel Khleifi, director Peter Kosminsky and academic Ilan Pappe.

We will be covering the event, so more on this to follow!

The Ciné Lumière will host a double-bill on the struggle for female emancipation: Fertile Memory by Michel Khleifi, the first full length film to be shot in Palestine, combining documentary with narrative to craft portraits of two very different women: Farah Hatoum, a 50-year old widow living in northern Israel and Sahar Khalifeh, a divorcee living with her daughter in the Israeli occupied West Bank.

The Season of Men by Moufida Tlatli, the first female feature film director in Arab cinema –tells the story of 18-year old Aicha in Djerba, who is married to Said who works 11-months of the year in Tunis. Aicha wants to follow Said to Tunis. Said agrees but imposes one condition: first, she must bear him a son.

… and another one on representations of the Arab in European Cinema.
This will include the critically acclaimed family drama Couscous (aka The Secret of the Grain) from the multi-award winning Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche (Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013) following 60-year old shipyard worker Slimane Beiji as he attempts to realise his dream of converting a dilapidated boat into a family restaurant specialising in fish couscous.

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is one of the most powerful films by the great German auteur Fassbinder. An unlikely whirlwind romance blossoms between Emmi, a 60-year old German widow and Ali, a Moroccan migrant worker in his 30s.

For the full programme and times and venues, visit www.shubbak.co.uk
Follow the festival on Twitter: @shubbakfestival
On Facebook: /shubbakfestival

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