“CONTEMPORARY ARAB CINEMA” AT THE JACOB BURNS FILM CENTER
12 Films with Introductions by Guest Curator Lina Matta
Pleasantville, NY – April 18, 2012 – The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC)
has announced the dates and films selected for the Film Center’s first
“Contemporary Arab Cinema” film series, opening Wednesday, May 9.
“Our window into the Arab world is so shaped by geo-politics and the news cycle
that the life of Arab arts and pulse of daily life are nearly invisible to us”
said JBFC Programming Director Brian Ackerman. “We’re very excited to bring our
first series exclusively dedicated to new films from the Arab world—films that
have won acclaim and awards at the film festivals in the Middle East, and that
capture the diversity of a region that spreads from Syria and Lebanon on the one
hand, to Tunisia and Morocco on the other.”
JFBC is honored to welcome guest curator Lina Matta, who will introduce each film in the
series. Matta is a Lebanese-American currently based in Dubai who was previously
head of programming at Dubai One TV and is now channel manager of an MBC (Middle
East Broadcasting Center) network. She is cofounder of Brown Hats Productions, a
New York independent production and digital media company with two award-winning
documentaries to its credit.
Tickets are available online at
burnsfilmcenter.org or at the box office which opens 1:00 pm, weekdays and
11:00 am, weekends. All tickets are $6 (members), $11 (nonmembers). The complete
schedule for this series includes:
SCHEHERAZADE, TELL ME A STORY, May 9: 7:15 pm
Scheherazade is a polished, keenly observed critique of contemporary Egyptian society.
This audacious drama turns heads for its high production values, story about a
very modern couple facing pressures at home and at work, and clever revelations.
Award winner at Venice and Brussels Film Festivals. Yousry Nasrallah. 2011. 134
m. Egypt. Arabic with subtitles.
FREE FOR JBFC MEMBERS! Free tickets available at the box
office ONLY (in advance or the day of the screening), while tickets last.
Advance tickets may also be purchased online.
A MAN OF HONOR, May 10: 7:30 pm
US PREMIERE! In modern cultures, honor killings seem barbaric
and from a long-ago world, but still the tradition endures. This movie is about
an honor killing that never took place. It is a moving and provocative
exploration of what happens when a man doesn’t pull the trigger, about living
with a lie to save a life, and about the many-faceted consequences of such a
choice. Jean-Claude Codsi. 2011. 91 m. Lebanon. Arabic with subtitles.
CAIRO 678, May 11: 5:00 pm
Sexual harassment is just one of the previously forbidden subjects now being
brought into the open by emerging Egyptian directors. In this powerful drama we
meet three women from Cairo who take the law into their own hands after little
response from the authorities. Winner: Best Arab Actress and Actor, Dubai
International Film Festival. Mohamed Diab. 2011. 103 m. Egypt. Arabic with
MICROPHONE, May 11: 7:40 pm
An urban musical drama that looks into the thriving arts underground in
Alexandria, a historic city that is little seen in Egyptian movies. Presenting a
microcosm of the youth of the Arab spring, Microphone is an intriguing portrait
of a vibrant subculture, studded with dazzling performances. Winner: Best Arab
Film, Cairo Film Festival. Ahmad Abdalla. 2010. 120 m. Egypt. Arabic with
THE TIME THAT REMAINS, May 12: 2:30 pm
From Palestine’s leading filmmaker, this exquisitely composed deadpan comedy is
an autobiographical look at Arabs living in Nazareth after the founding of the
State of Israel. It’s a special film with an “exquisite balance of visual rigor
and heartfelt emotion that gives it remarkable, if always quiet, beauty and
power” (New York Times). Elia Suleiman. 2009. 109 m. Various Countries.
Arabic/Hebrew with subtitles.
TAHRIR 2011: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE POLITICIAN, May 12: 5:15 pm
The world was riveted by the revolution on the streets of Cairo in January 2011.
This documentary, one of the first to come out of post-Mubarak Egypt, presents
the events through the eyes of three filmmakers, each of whom focuses on a
particular angle: the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, police brutality, and
political corruption. Tahmer Ezzat/Ayten Amin. 2011. 90 m. Egypt. Arabic with
FREE MEN, May 12: 7:30 pm
Constructed around actual events that occurred in Paris under the Occupation,
this wonderfully rich story stars the electric young actor Tahar Rahim. He plays
a Muslim Algerian immigrant forced to spy on the Paris Mosque, whose authorities
are suspected of aiding the Resistance and harboring Jews. Ismaël Ferroukhi.
2011. 99 m. France. Arabic/French with subtitles.
GRANDMA, A THOUSAND TIMES, May 13: 2:00 pm
In her Beirut neighborhood, hundreds of elderly women sit on their balconies sipping
coffee and watching the world go by. But this particular grandma is brought to
“defiantly unsentimental life” (New York Times) by her adoring filmmaker
grandson. Winner: Audience Award for Best Documentary, Doha Tribeca Film
Festival. Mahmoud Kaabour. 2010. 50 m. Lebanon/UAE. Arabic with subtitles.
THE THREE DISAPPEARANCES OF SOAD HOSNI, May 13: 4:00 pm
Soad Hosni was an Egyptian screen idol, appearing in 82 feature films with 37
directors before her controversial death in 2001. This playful biopic tells her
story through her work, drawing exclusively on performance clips captured on VHS
tape. Winner: Best Arab Documentary Filmmaker, Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Rania
Stephan. 2011. 70 m. Lebanon/UAE. Arabic with subtitles. RED HEART, May 13: 6:30
pm Red Heart takes us into an unknown world, introducing us to the Kurdish
landscape, people, and culture. Telling a compelling story of love, marriage,
and family, it also illustrates the plight of women, as seen through the eyes of
the 19-year-old main character, Shirin. Halkawt Mustafa. 2011. 78 m. Iraq.
Kurdish with subtitles.
IT’S ALL IN LEBANON, May 14: 7:45 pm
US PREMIERE! Very few films manage to bring home the
schizophrenic realities of today’s Lebanon, a country of extremes. One half is
the Paris of the Middle East while the other defines itself by its seemingly
endless war with Israel. This film is a provocative attempt to bring it all
together through the “war of the video clips” on opposing parties’ TV channels.
Wissam Charaf. 2011. 62 m. NR. Lebanon/UAE. Arabic/French with subtitles.
Q&A w/ guest curator Lina Matta.
STRAY BULLET, May 15: 7:30 pm
It’s August 1976 and 30-something Noha is about to get married. When she
abruptly changes her mind, however, family dynamics, social mores, and religion
come up against the much bigger specter of a civil war in which everything could
unravel at any moment. Best Arab Film, Dubai International Film Festival.
Georges Hachem. 2010. 77 m. Lebanon. Arabic with subtitles..
The Jacob Burns Film Center is a nonprofit cultural arts organization dedicated
to: presenting the best of independent, documentary, and world cinema; promoting
21st century literacy, and making film a vibrant part of the community. Located
on a 47,500 sq. foot, three-building campus in the center of Pleasantville, the
JBFC is just 30 miles outside of New York City. Since the opening in 2001, over
1,000,000 people have seen over 4,500 films from more than 40 countries The
campus includes the 27,000 sq. foot Media Arts Lab, the JBFC’s state-of-the-art
education center, a creative and educational community for storytellers in the
digital age, offering one-time workshops, intensive courses, and weekend
programs for children and adults of all ages. To learn more about the Jacob
Burns Film Center and Media Arts Lab, visit
Zakalik (email@example.com) 914.773.7663, ext. 434
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