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Homelands Now: The Middle East in Focus

Yasser Arafat died on 11 November 2004, with the world looking on. His brother, Fathi Arafat, died three weeks later in comparative silence. Palestinian filmmaker Rahid Masharawi wanted to confront the PLO leader to get his perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to understand where the ... Read more
Proposed by Bahman Ghobadi for MIFF 05, this programme is an eclectic selection of short films from one of the least-known filmmaking cultures in the world. Diverse and stylistically adventurous, these films broaden our understanding of Kurdish cinema and culture, and also provide a context for ... Read more
Behind the Scenes of Turtles Can Fly was made by a Kurdish filmmaker, Abdin Aliveisi, who stayed with the crew for six months of the gruelling shoot, with the aim of showing the conditions under which the film was made. A remarkable document of the production of a remarkable film, it explains the ... Read more
For 40 years the cantankerous Esfandiar has prepared corpses for the journey to their final resting places. He works with a dignified widow named Delbar, who washes the bodies of deceased women, and a flighty lad, who incinerates the clothes of the dead. While Esfandiar's mean-spiritedness works ... Read more
A programme of short films curated exclusively for MIFF by Bahman Ghobadi complements the Homelands Now spotlight. It is an eclectic selection from one of the least-known filmmaking cultures in the world. These shorts are not only diverse and stylistically adventurous, but provide a rare glimpse ... Read more
A programme of short films curated exclusively for MIFF by Bahman Ghobadi complements the \"Homelands Now\" spotlight. It is an eclectic selection from one of the least-known filmmaking cultures in the world. These shorts are not only diverse and stylistically adventurous, but provide a rare ... Read more
A programme of short films curated exclusively for MIFF by Bahman Ghobadi complements the Homelands Now spotlight. It is an eclectic selection from one of the least-known filmmaking cultures in the world. These shorts are not only diverse and stylistically adventurous, but provide a rare glimpse ... Read more
[The Door to the Sun] is an epic history struck through with suffering, hope and love. This powerful film, screened at Cannes last year, is adapted from a novel by Elias Khoury. ... Told with daring and sensitivity, Yousry Nasrallah, longtime collaborator of Youssef Chahine, charts the ... Read more
Dastaguir and his spirited young grandson, Yassin, wait at a dusty roadside junction in a lonely desert landscape. They wait for a truck that will take them to the remote mine where the old man's son works. He is honour-bound to take the devastating news to his son that their village has been ... Read more
[Iron Island] is a moving but tragic story of those whose ignorance leads them to trust others who would abuse their trust in return. It is undoubtedly a parable of the rhythms and constraints of lives lived under despotic rule. This remarkable, almost surreal film screened in Directors' Fortnight ... Read more
Can one live a normal life as a lesbian if deeply rooted in the Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox Jewish community' The answer is no. The Holy Scripture forbids homosexuality. Lesbianism is unacceptable, non-negotiable and its likely consequence is excommunication. ... This profoundly moving film tells ... Read more
What drives people to commit atrocious acts of mass cruelty, and how do they live with the knowledge of their part in such savagery' These are the questions at the heart of Monika Borgmann, Lokman Slim and Hermann Theissen's incisive and riveting documentary, [Massacre], for which they were awarded ... Read more
"Striking, powerful and disturbing... an unprecedented look at the work of the snipers who belong to the Israel Defense Forces, an elite group of marksmen whose job is to kill from a distance. The result is chilling" - Jewish Week ... The small group of soldiers interviewed for this documentary ... Read more
People the world over are baffled by the act of suicide bombing. Whatever one's political view, it is virtually incomprehensible. Dutch-based Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad delivers a powerful and measured inquiry into this act of martyrdom in his Berlin 2005 award-winning [Paradise Now]. The ... Read more
The trade in human flesh is a brutal business driven by an international network. In his [Promised Land], Amos Gitai delivers a tough portrayal of one woman's journey into the nightmare of Israel's white slave trade. ... The film opens with several women of Eastern European descent huddled with ... Read more
In the modern, democratic nation of Israel a woman cannot have her marriage annulled without her husband's consent. While husbands are able to live with other women, and even withhold child support, wives are forbidden to keep the company of other men. At times, these often well-educated and ... Read more
It's Haifa, circa 1979. After another series of confrontations, Viviane's seven brothers try, once again, to mediate between her and her husband, Eliyahu. She must think of the children, they remind her. Her husband doesn't gamble, or beat her, does he' But reminders of social obligation are not ... Read more
The remarkable and deeply moving [Turtles Can Fly] puts director Bahman Ghobadi ([A Time for Drunken Horses]) firmly into the ranks of the world's finest filmmakers. Telling the story of four children trying to negotiate the volatile landscape of the Iraqi-Kurdish border region, its humanity ... Read more
[Ushpizin] is the first feature film ever made in Israel's ultra-Orthodox Haredi community. Filmed where cameras have never been before, with actors and settings unaltered in appearance, it's a tender and funny picture that cleverly toys with the tensions between Orthodox and secular viewpoints ... Read more
Early in 2004, 150 digital video cameras were distributed to ordinary Iraqis. After 24 years of silence on matters that might offend the state, Iraqis turn the cameras on their compatriots, who freely express their thoughts, grief, hopes and dreams for themselves and their country. [Voices of Iraq] ... Read more
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