Festival brings films from Arab nations to Korea

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Festival brings films from Arab nations to Korea


Still from the fourth ARAB Film Festival’s opening movie “From A to B,” directed by Ali F. Mostafa. Provided by the festival

The fourth edition of the ARAB Film Festival, a rare opportunity to watch a string of films from Arab nations, kicked off its weeklong journey on Thursday at selected venues in Seoul and Busan.

Under the slogan “Journey Through Arab,” the annual event has invited 10 movies of diverse genres from 22 Arab countries, including Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and more.

Except for Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbutku,” which was featured at last year’s Busan International Film Festival, it will be the Asian premiere for nine of the films that have been invited at the festival.

“From A to B,” directed by up-and-coming UAE filmmaker Ali F. Mostafa, has been selected as the opener.

It follows a road trip taken by three male buddies mourning a dead friend. On their way from Abu Dhabi to Beirut, the trio face a series of unexpected yet hilarious happenings.

“The film will provide an opportunity to wipe out some stereotypes that Korean have towards Arab nations, in terms of society, politics and culture,” said the festival’s programmer, Park Eun-jin.

The Jordanian drama “Theeb,” directed by Naji Abu Nowar, is also included in the lineup

The coming-of-age film is told from the perspective of a young boy who learns about love, trust and betrayal while on an adventure.

Despite being Nowar’s feature debut, the film earned critical acclaim on the international stage, winning the Best Director Award in the 2014 Venice International Film Festival’s Horizons section.

The audience in Korea will also be given the opportunity to see this year’s Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, “Timbuktu,” for the second time.

The grim movie focuses on the absurd and violent rule imposed by Jihadists on a small village near Timbuktu in the Western African country of Mali.

Watching movies is not all there is on offer at the fourth ARAB Film Festival. Various other events centered on sharing the culture of Arabic countries are on the menu as well.

A special session will be held about the language and Halal food shared by Arabs.

The culture of Arabic women will be introduced as well.

Additionally, two directors of the movies screened at the festival - Nadine Naous of documentary feature “Home Sweet Home” and Mostafa of the opening film “From A to B” - are coming to Korea and will have discussion sessions with the audience during the festival.

The event is hosted by the nonprofit organization Korea-Arab Society and will run through June 10 at Arthouse MOMO at Ewha Womans University in central Seoul and at the Busan Cinema Center in the coastal city.

Tickets are free and will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

All of the available films will include subtitles in English and Korean.

For more information about the festival, visit fest.korea-arab.org.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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