Cinema showcase in Morocco
Arab women filmmakers challenge Western preconceptions
Female filmmakers from across the Middle East are increasingly being recognised and celebrated. But the challenges they face are not always what you might expect
Sofia Alaoui's film "Animalia"
Aliens land in Morocco
Moroccan terrain has long proved a popular backdrop for American film productions. In "Animalia", director Sofia Alaoui highlights Morocco's scenery from a local and personal perspective, focusing in particular on the Atlas Mountains
"Iraq's Invisible Beauty"
Pictures, not words
"Iraq's Invisible Beauty" is a documentary film depicting the journey of the late Iraqi photographer Latif al-Ani, who gained international acclaim as one of the pioneers of photography in Iraq and the Middle East. By Shady Lewis Botros
Tunisian films about the Arab Spring
Rage, hope and desperation
Tunisian filmmakers are addressing the subject of the Arab Spring and its failure in Tunisia in their films. Shady Lewis Botros watched three of them for Qantara.de
Saudi Arabia's cultural revolution
Artists, but not individuals in the Western sense
"Saudi Vision 2030" foresees the accelerated modernisation of Saudi Arabia – and that includes the country’s culture. Huge amounts of government funding are being poured into the arts, while exchange with the West is welcomed. These new freedoms do, however, have their limits, as Joseph Croitoru reports.
Vlogging and Arab family values
"Filming every moment"
Household labour has become popular viewing in Arab cultures where the distribution of such tasks is among the world’s most inequitable. Indeed, family vloggers' urge to "film every moment" may well prove the most politically significant content of all. By Kaitlyn Hashem
Khaled Jarrar's documentary "Notes on Displacement"
Putting faces to the nameless
Many films exist about the dangerous escape routes people have been taking to reach Europe since 2015 to escape war, conflict and precarious living conditions. In this very personal documentary, Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar accompanies an old lady from Yarmouk, Syria, who was driven out of Nazareth as a child. By Rene Wildangel
Berlinale's first Yemeni feature film
The taboo of abortion
"Al Murhaqoon" ("The Burdened") is the first Yemeni feature film ever to be shown at the Berlinale. Ahmed Shawky spoke to director Amr Gamal about the difficulties of making a film in Yemen and the taboo of abortion
Tunisia's Oscar shortlist
"Under The Fig Trees" and modern rural youth
Erige Sehiri, director of "Under The Fig Trees", shortlisted to represent Tunisia at the Oscars next year, says she hopes the award-winning drama film will smash the cliche that rural women are "miserable and closed"
Cairo Conspiracy a.k.a. Boy From Heaven
Al-Azhar, a Catholic monastery...and the Dalai Lama
Palme d’Or winner "Boy from Heaven" is a classic crossover film in which cultural elements are mixed together in haphazard and random fashion. Shady Lewis Botros bemoans the director’s use of various formulaic and cliche-ridden templates dominant in global mass culture
Queer Film Festival in Tunisia
Between fear and courage
With queer people facing widespread discrimination in Tunisia, the Mawjoudin Queer Film Festival will kick off in the country's capital Tunis on 22 September in a semi-public setting. Sarah Mersch reports
Cancelling "The Lady of Heaven"
Why the fuss over the Prophet's daughter?
Written by the controversial Kuwaiti Shia preacher, Yasser Habib, the film's plot pursues two threads: one from the Islamic past, the other from the present. The narratives meet when Islamic State seizes vast areas of Iraqi territory. By Shady Lewis Botros