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Arab Cinema, Festivals and Conferences

Films From the South Festival 2011

Oslo’s unique film festival celebrating films from Africa, Asia and Latin America opens on Thursday October 6 and we’ll be there to cover the first five days. The festival programme presents nearly 100 films organised in sections: ‘Main Competition’, New Horizons, Doc South, Asian Visions, Latin American Style, African Stories and Middle East Without Borders. The ‘Critical Room’ gives an opportunity to meet some of the directors featured in the documentary strand, focusing on Brazil and Afghanistan, and there are four directors given a showcase within the overall programme: Asghar Farhadi (Iran), Eric Khoo (Singapore), Matias Bize (Chile) and Fernando Pérez (Cuba). There is also a children’s section (this year exclusively animation) and an associated film education programme (dealing with films about Afghanistan) that takes film screenings beyond Oslo and into other areas of Norway. With associated art and music events, Oslo looks like a buzzing place over the next couple of weeks – can’t wait!

The women of a village threatened by war in Where Do We Go Now?

The opening film is Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now? in which the Lebanese director offers a comedy-drama about how women can prevent men from going to war. Ms Labaki is the main guest of the festival and will present her film in person. This is perfectly timed as, after winning the audience prize at Toronto, Where Do We Go Now? has just opened as the biggest Arabic language film in Lebanese box office history. Following her earlier international hit Caramel, Where Do We Go Now? reinforces the emergence of a new kind of female identity in a region galvanised by the ‘Arab Spring’ – something picked up elsewhere in the festival with recent films from Egypt and Morocco. Watch this space for our verdict on Where Do We Go Now?

Festival website: http://www.filmfrasor.no/en/index.html

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