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Oscar nominated film maker, Jim Sheridan and Festival Director Zahara Moufid’s fourth Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF) will open on Friday, October 6 th at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in Dublin’s Temple Bar. The festival, which has been developed in partnership with the IFI, is presented by Dubai Duty Free and will include seven films, five of which will be shown at the IFI from Friday, 6 th October. Films showing over the festival at the IFI include the opening film Solitaire – a critically acclaimed Lebanese/ Syrian comedy of manners directed by Sophie Boutros.

Tramontane and Gaza Surf Club will be shown on Saturday, 7th of October while Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim and Beauty and the Dogs will be shown on Sunday the 8th October. The Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle will also screen two movies, Adieu Mères (Goodbye Mothers) and Ymma (Mother).

The festival has had great success since its inception in 2014 when movie great Omar Sharif opened the festival. Since then it has attracted movie fans, directors and actors from all over the world including Dubai, Egypt and Morocco. Last year, the opening night was attended by U2’s The Edge, actress Amy Huberman, the US Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, and ambassadors from several Arab countries.

Commenting on this year’s 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.

Speaking about some of the movies that will be shown at the festival, Jim Sheridan added,

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: the Opening Night presentation, Sophie Boutros’s Solitaire, 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 is a mark that tells the audience that the movie has been produced or directed by a female.

Ross Keane, the Director of the IFI, said,

We’re delighted to be partnering once again this year with the Dublin Arabic Film Festival after hugely successful events in 2015 and 2016. This partnership highlights the IFI’s strategic commitment to deliver film programmes from all around the world with a variety of voices, genders, and cultures.

Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, the presenting sponsor of DAFF said,

We are very pleased and proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Dublin Arabic Film Festival. Through our involvement with The Dubai International Film Festival we have seen that film has an ability to share culture, ideas and experiences in a very human way. Huge congratulations to Jim Sheridan and Zahara Moufid on the festival, the choice of films is really interesting and we are sure that Irish audiences will be enthralled,
entertained and inspired.

The opening movie, Solitaire is a comedy-drama, directed by Sophie Boutros which casts a shrewd eye over the tensions between Syria and Lebanon. Therese, the wife of the mayor of a Lebanese village, is preparing to meet her daughter’s suitor and family, who are, unbeknownst to Theresa, Syrian. Therese still mourns for her brother who was killed in a Syrian bombing some twenty years ago and has been outspoken in her prejudice towards the neighbouring country ever since. Her prejudices will, however, be confronted over an exceedingly uncomfortable dinner party.

The movie, Tramontane tells the story of a young blind Lebanese musician, Rabih. When he applies for a passport to go on a European tour with his band doubt is cast upon the authenticity of his documentation, which leads the confused and frustrated Rabih on a quest into rural Lebanon to uncover the true nature of his identity.

Gaza Surf Club is about a small group of young people in Gaza who must be inventive in finding physical outlets and creating entertainment. For one small group, including 15-year-old Sabah, who learned the sport as a girl, but is now no longer allowed to practice in public, relief comes from surfing the Mediterranean, on surfboards gathered with great difficulty. Although the film celebrates this group, the backdrop against which it is set infuses it with an undeniable melancholy.

The Egyptian made movie, Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim tells the story of Ali who is in love with a (possibly psychic) goat, called Nada. Ibrahim works at a recording studio and suffers from terrifying voices in his head. Ali yields to his mother’s wish that he visits a healer’s clinic where he meets Ibrahim. The healer diagnoses both as ‘cursed’ and prescribes a solution to break the spell: they must throw three stones into Egypt’s three water bodies. Ali, Ibrahim and Nada head off on an adventure that takes them to the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Nile in this touching tale of friendship, reconciliation and self-discovery.

Beauty and the Dogs tells the story of a young 21-year- old Mariam Al Ferjani. Focusing on the aftermath of her rape by two policemen, the film unflinchingly depicts the Kafkaesque bureaucracy Mariam is subjected to over the course of one long dark night. The directors present her experiences at the hands of shockingly indifferent doctors, policemen and administrators though a series of long, unbroken shots, displaying great technical virtuosity, whilst lending the material an appropriate air of in-the- moment urgency.

Tickets for the IFI movies can be booked by calling the Booking Office on (01) 4070779 or
by emailing film@cbl.ie The Chester Beatty Library films are free in and booking is not
necessary. For more information see www.dublinarabicfilmfestival.ie