Middle East Now film festival begins in Florence

45 films over six days, with various art and literature events

04 April, 14:41

    The poster of the Middle East Now festival The poster of the Middle East Now festival

    ROME - The six-day film festival Middle East Now opens its eighth edition on Tuesday in Florence, with 45 films from countries across the Middle East.
    The event will host 20 special guests as well, including directors, actors, producers, photographers, artists, chefs, writers, journalists and regional experts.
    The festival's guiding theme, Urban Middle East, helps connect the screenings - 39 of which are Italian premieres.
    The festival is directed by Lisa Chiari and Roberto Ruta and will feature films, documentaries, short films and animated films from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia.
    The film "Last Men of Aleppo" by directors Feras Feyyad and Steen Johannessen will open the festival on Tuesday, with Feyyad in attendance at the screening.
    It shows the daily lives of volunteers with the White Helmets rescue group in Aleppo, and was made with video taken by activists in the field.
    Egypt is a special focus of this year's edition, with a series of film premieres including "In the Last Days of the City" by Tamer El Said; director Mohammed Hammad's debut feature "Withered Green", which won for best director at the Dubai International Film Festival; the documentary film "Whose Country?" by Mohamed Siam, an unflinching look at the country through the eyes of Cairo police officers; "Happily Ever After", a post-revolution love story by Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir; and the multiple award-winning "Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim" by director Sherif Elbendary, a road trip movie that portrays the story of friendship between two young outsiders.
    Other events will take place in addition to the film screenings, including the video installations "Leaves Fall in All Seasons" by Ahmed Mater, one of the most important contemporary artists in Saudi Arabia, who in this work shows Mecca through videos made with the cell phone cameras of migrant workers at their construction sites.
    Another event is #PopPalestineVideoRecipes, video recipes from the book Pop Palestine, which depicts contemporary Palestinian cooking.
    Discussions and conversations about the Middle East are also on the schedule, including "Syria, Today and Tomorrow"; "Tehran Laboratory: Public Space, Culture, Identity"; "Beirut, Bayrut, Beyrouth: A Plural City"; "The Iran I Know: Three Books Recommended for Donald Trump" with Giuseppe Acconcia, Fabrizio Cassinelli, Alberto Zanconato and Nicola Pedde and "The Errant Muslim" by Alberto Negri.
    On April 9 the festival will close with the film "Ali, The Goat and Ibrahim" by Egyptian director Sherif Elbendary, who will be in attendance at the screening together with Egyptian actor Ali Sohby.

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