Women to the fore in 2017 Dublin Arabic Film Festival
2017-09-15 05:00 -

The fourth Dublin Arabic Film Festival (Daff) will open on Friday 6 October at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in Dublin’s Temple Bar. 


Developed in partnership with the IFI by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jim Sheridan and festival director Zagara Moufid, Daff is presented by Dubai Duty Free and will include seven films – five of which will be shown at the IFI from Friday 6 October. 


This year’s line-up begins with Solitaire, a critically acclaimed Lebanese-Syrian comedy of manners directed by Sophie Boutros.


Tramontane and Gaza Surf Club will be shown on Saturday 7 October, while Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim, and Beauty and the Dogs will be screened on Sunday 8 October. 


The Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle will also show two films, Adieu Mères (Goodbye Mothers) and Ymma (Mother).


Daff has attracted movie fans, directors and actors from all over the world including Dubai, Egypt and Morocco, since movie great Omar Sharif opened the inaugural festival in 2014. 


Last year, the opening night was attended by U2’s The Edge, actor and writer Amy Huberman, US Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley and ambassadors from several Arab countries.


Commenting on the 2017 programme, Jim Sheridan said: “Last year’s edition boasted sell out screenings at the IFI and we hope that Daff goes some way to meeting the clear demand that exists for the cinema of the Arabic world. 


“Daff represents the best of contemporary Arabic cinema and provides unique perspectives on Arab people, culture and politics. I feel this year’s diverse selection of films gives valuable insight into the beauty and complexity of these extraordinary countries.”


The place of women in Arabic society emerged this year as a key theme with two films being directed by women: Sophie Boutros’s Solitaire, a comedy-drama that casts a shrewd eye over tensions between Syria and Lebanon, and Khaled Walid Barsaoui and Kaouther Ben Hania’s Beauty and the Dogs, a provocative work of great technical virtuosity. 


This coincides with the IFI’s recent implementation of the ‘F-Rating’, which tells the audience that the movie has been produced or directed by a woman.


Tramontane, screening on the Saturday, tells the story of a young blind Lebanese musician whose identity is cast into doubt, and who embarks on a quest into rural Lebanon to uncover his true origins.


Also in the Saturday, Gaza Surf Club is about a small group of young Gazans who must be inventive in finding physical outlets and creating entertainment.


Sunday brings Egyptian-made Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim, the story of a man in love with a goat who might also be psychic, and the recording engineer with terrifying voices in his head who joins them on a quest to break their ‘curses’. 


Beauty and the Dogs, meanwhile, focuses on the aftermath of a woman’s rape by two policemen. The film unflinchingly depicts the Kafka-esque bureaucracy the victim is subjected to over the course of one long dark night.


Tickets for the IFI screenings can be booked online at www.ifi.ie/daff or by calling the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477. The Chester Beatty Library films are free admission and booking is not necessary. 

For more information see dublinarabicfilmfestival.ie 

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