This year in the Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2012, there was a competition of the Arab Short Films. 13 films contributed in three themes, Hope springs, Awakening and Intimate Journeys.
I watched all 13 films, and I think they were all good, and the short films are getting better and boldier. The filmmakers are challenging the social and political obstacles in their home countries in most of the films. Some issues are “red line” but still they were well portrayed to deliver the message.
The Arab Revolutions took a small part in the short films. Only two films mentioned the revolutions, Syrian and Tunisian, directly, yet both were very artistic. The first was just a short clip of Hafez Al Assad talking to a syrian asutronaud while in the background his statue is falling down, and the second was a cartoon. Also one film mentioned the Palestinian conflict, it was called “Maqloubeh“. That makes it 3 out of 13 films.
Arab Revolutions with such a small part was unexpected to me personally not to find more films about the revolutions. The great part was for the social problems of the arab societies.
The judges will decide which film will win, but I will personally decide here the top three, and why they deserve the win.
In first place would be “Ismail“, a film about a poor Palestinian man called Ismail, who is struggling in the refugee camp, and surviving by selling sweets in the train station. The main part of the film is when he gets stuck in a mind field with his young brother, that’s where the film tops the others. It’s the only film that has twists, and it’s a feeling roller coaster, you smile, get shocked, almost cry then feel so inspired and hopeful that this man became the famous Artist Ismail Shammout.
The cinematography of the film is beautiful, so are the actors. to me, it won the competition.
The second place, would be “Sanctity“, it’s a story about a pregnant, widow Saudi woman, who goes through a lot to survive. The story of the film isn’t the best, yet it’s a very bold film. I feel that if Saudi people saw it, they will want to murder the Director Ahd, which was also the main actress in the film. The woman in the film does everything that the Saudi society wouldn’t agree on. The director pushes the limit every minute of the film, with scenes to portray sexual fantasies of a young kid, then drugs, and how some people live in the Saudi community, that you will never hear about in the media.
The cinematography was great, but the actors are who made the film great.
Third place goes to “The Wall“, a lebanese hilarious film -for arabic speakers- and for non arabic speakers it was still funny and cozy, somehow. It was pretty confusing whether it was a documentary or a short film. But that’s what made it great. It talks about a wall in a lebanese house, where all the neighborhood used to hide behind during the civil war. The director was interviewing the houses of the neighborhood and the characters are nice and diverse, it makes you smile throughout the whole film.
The cinematography was beautiful, the set up of all the interviews were the eye candy, and the actors were great, especially when you figure out that those are not the real people in the real story, those are actors. It’s a well done film.
4th place would go to “When they slept“, It was a brave film, talking about death in a cultural point of view. 5th place to the Qatari Film “Bidoon“, also another bold film talking about cultural issue of Love in the Qatari society.