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"New Country" by Melissa Chimera Remember the name your parents gave you has plenty of shade. Rest in it. Zeina Hashem Beck   In the cold wind we walk the ruins of Byblos, the harbor below us, the razor edge of a rough sea in the distance whips up dark clouds overhead. There is the Temple of the Obelisk, and nearby, the holy church of St. John the Baptist. We rush to catch up with the woman wearing jeans and a sweater, hair wild in the drizzle.  The guide of this place, we see her just as she sweeps the ancient stone wall with her finger tips, hand to her

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    The first film by an Arab woman to be selected and screened at the Cannes film festival in 1974, Saat El Tahrir Dakkat (The Hour of Liberation Has Arrived) by Heiny Srour, chronicles the anti-colonial struggle of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arabian Gulf (al-Jabhah al-Sha'abiyah li-Tahrir 'Uman wa-al-Khalij al-'Arabi, PFLOAG). Recently restored by Nadi Lekol Nas,  Srour’s documentary closed the last edition of the Lebanese Film Festival and was recently screened in New York as part of a series focusing on the theme of decolonization in cinema.   The film’s opening sequence sets the stage by

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Photo by Nour Annan In the absence of state-monitored public transportation, van #4 operates as a privately-owned informal “public transit” in Beirut. The van’s route begins all the way from the Lebanese University’s campus in Hadath to Hamra, carrying over 50,000 passengers a day.    I am picked up in Chiyah, next to the wall with bullet ears. This route has it all: burnt tires, an abandoned building calling out the names of dead dogs, wildflowers caught in gust. We are an unlicensed and unregistered van carrying one city. The door won’t slide and hajji has her toes stretched into air. It’s

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In its 10th edition, the biennial Ayam Beirut Al Cinema’iya took place from March 29 to April 6, 2019. The film festival has showcased, fostered, and defended Arab films made and conceived independently, however vague a definition that might be, for the past twenty years. Middle Eastern cinema has historically struggled on two fronts: the domestic one, in the fight against censorship; and the far more insidious international one. In the artistic flight from poor or inexistent funding and distribution circuits that favor commercial cinema (from either Egypt or the US), Arab filmmakers in many cases have had to rely

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