Arab Shorts – Independent Short Films and Media Art


Since 2009, under the tutelage of the Goethe-Institut in Cairo, curators from Arab countries and Germany have compiled 139 independent and experimental films and videos from the Arab world and made them accessible to international audiences. Comprising of feature films, documentaries, and video art this multi-facetted program mirrors the diversity of the Arab world and challenges the often one-dimensional image of the region still prevalent in the West.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 7.30 pm presented by Yazan Khalili, Ramallah

Yazan Khalili was born in 1981, and lives and works in and out of Palestine. Khalili has a degree in architecture from Birzeit University and a master’s degree from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmith’s College at the University of London.

My Father is still a Communist: Intimate Secrets to be Published, by Ahmad Ghossein, Lebanon, 2011, 35 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles. All what is left from the relationship between Rachid and Mariam is a large number of radio cassettes sent as love letters during the time of civil war in Lebanon. “When I was a child, I invented stories about a father who was a war hero fighting with the Communist Party.”

As They Say, by Hicham Ayouch, Morocco/UAE, 2011, 13 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles Set in the lush Rif mountains of northern Morocco, As They Say spans the length of a weekend camping trip on which a father and his son hike in a forest to go fishing. The son wants to use the intimate meditative get-away with his father to reveal a long-hidden secret. The father, a former soldier, is a conservative sixty-year-old who does not suspect his son’s secret. The revelation will shatter their relationship.

Be Quiet, by Sameh Zoabi, Palestine, 2006, 16 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles. Be Quiet follows the story of a young boy and his father on their journey home to the city of Nazareth. What should be a simple car trip is beset by politically charged tension and a militarized reality – each of which serves as a foil to enhance the struggle of a complacent father raising a strong-willed son. “Be Quiet” has won more than 20 awards and recognitions including Third Prize in the Cinéfondation Selection at the Cannes Film Festival (2005), Best Narrative Short Film at the IFP Market in New York City, Best Student Short at the Aspen Short Festival, National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, Grand Prix at the Brest European Short Festival, Best Arab Short Film at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, Golden Prix at the Carthage Film Festival, Bronze Muhr Award at the Dubai Film Festival, Jerusalem Film Festival,…

Moustache, by Meqdad Al-Kout, Kuwait, 2010, 14 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles. The film is set in Kuwait and tells the story of a man who is unable to grow a moustache. The Forty Second Winter, by Ehab Tarabieh, Syria, 2009, 15 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles. A series of winter frames of an Arab Syrian village near Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights. The filmmaker takes a close look at ‘the dance of life’ his aging parents are leading, 42 winters since the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.

Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 7.30 pm presented by Fareed Majari (Goethe-Institut) and Rima Abouziab (Levantine Cultural Center)
04:02:2011, by Mahmoud Farag, Egypt, 2011, 5 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles. The knock at the door did not indicate what was behind it … I wished I were dead … I wished to die there and then in their hands before I die of fear. Under the Iron, by Agathe

Dirani, Egypt, 2011, 6 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles
Portrait of 13-year-old Mina who works as a construction worker tying together iron rods in Cairo, the city which he travels through daily to get to his job.

With Soul, with Blood, by Rabih Mroué, Lebanon, 2006, 5 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles. In With Soul, with Blood, Rabih Mroué scans a grainy newspaper photograph of a massive crowd at a political protest in a futile effort to find any trace of his own presence at the event.

Payback, by Omar Khaled, Egypt, 2011, 15 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles. Most of the events of the film take place in one day. We meet different characters and watch them facing a bleak world of oppression, violence and social injustice.

Land of the Heroes, by Sahim Omar Kalifa, Belgium/Iraq, 2011, 19 min, digital, Kurdish with English subtitles. 1988. The conflict between Iraq and Iran is reaching its final stage. The 10-year-old Dileer and his sister Zienee want to watch cartoons on television, but that is easier said than done when Malo, the bully, comes along…

Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 7.30 pm presented by Fareed Majari (Goethe-Institut) and Rima Abouziab (Levantine Cultural Center)
Checkpoint, by Ruben Amar, France, 2010, 19 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles. A young Palestinian boy accompanies his father on visits to the ruins of a destroyed village. Though he doesn’t understand his father’s ritual, he feels he has a duty to help him.

Tandid – Condemnation, by Walid Mattar, Tunisia, 2010, 15 min, digital, Arabic with English subtitles. A group of unemployed friends spend their time in a coffee shop in a popular neighborhood of the Tunisian capital. The coffee shop patrons are following a soccer match, commenting and analyzing, when suddenly the Israeli war against Gaza erupts and the comments turn to the event. In a cinematic portrait, the film succeeds in expressing what it means to be living as a young man under a despotic regime. Through a cinematic language that is both simple and difficult, it brings out the feeling of restlessness and the absence of the concept of the human citizen, the creative being.

Abdelkrim’s Battleship, by Walid Mattar, Tunisia, 2003, 8 min, digital, b/w, silent
Young people are waiting in vain to obtain a visa to go Europe. There must be a solution. Maybe a revolution? This movie was shot in just a few hours and it is a real jewel. The citation of Eisenstein’s movie Battleship Potemkin is precise; the décalé mood prevents the movie from drifting into mannerism and the denouement matches the darkest side of reality.
ARAB SHORTS is part of the Goethe-Institut’s series Narrating the Arab Spring, which connects the Goethe-Institut’s network in the Arab World with Southern California. This series of events addresses what has become known as the “Arab Spring” from an artistic and cultural perspective. It is part of the Levantine Cultural Center’s New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema series, which is sponsored in part by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
For more information please visit:
Middle Eastern Cuisine reception following the program
November 14th & 15th 2012, 7:30pm Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, 5750 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036 Free Admission; Tel: 323 5253388


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