Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jim Sheridan and Festival Director Zahara Moufid’s fifth annual Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF) will open on Friday, October 5th at the Irish Film Institute (IFI) and runs until October 7th.

This year’s festival will include five films at the IFI including the opening film Looking for Oum Kulthum,Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari’s drama about Oum Kulthum, the legendary Egyptian singer and divaAmr Salama’s Sheikh Jackson and Ziad Doueiri’s The Insult will screen on Saturday 6th, while Karim Moussaoui’s Until the Birds Return and Tala Hadid’s House in the Fields will screen on Sunday 7th.  The Chester Beatty Library (CBL) will also show Nadine Labaki’s comedy Caramel at 14.00 on Saturday 6th; admission to the CBL screening will be free of charge.

Looking for Oum Kulthum, the festival’s opening film, tells the story of Mitra, an ambitious artist in her forties who embarks on her dream project of making a film about the legendary Egyptian singer and diva Oum Kulthum. The film explores the struggles, sacrifices and the price of Oum Kulthum’s success as a female artist in a male-dominated society.

Affecting drama Sheikh Jackson tells the story of Khaled, a respected junior cleric in Alexandria whose seemingly stable life becomes derailed by the news of Michael Jackson’s death. Succumbing to long-suppressed feelings of turmoil and anxiety, he begins neglecting his wife and child and experiences flashbacks to his teenage years, when he was nicknamed ‘Jackson’ on account of love for the King of Pop.

Ziad Doueiri’s The Insult, which was shortlisted for this year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar, tells the story of how a minor altercation between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestian refugee escalates into a public dispute that comes to encapsulate the lasting legacy of the Lebanese Civil War.

Documentary House in the Fields centres on an isolated rural Amazigh village in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. A portrait of a community that has remained unchanged for hundreds of years despite the rapidly accelerating socio-political realities of the country, the film observes and faithfully records the lives of the villagers.

In Until the Birds Return, past and present collide in the lives three people in this gripping film that exposes the soul of contemporary Algerian society.

Finally, the Chester Beatty Library will show Caramel, a comedy set in a beauty salon in Beirut which provides a haven for five women, each with busy and complex personal lives.  With the support of their friends in their familiar salon, the women search for the answers to questions of life, love and happiness in Nadine Labaki’s charming 2007 film.

Tickets for screenings at the IFI can be booked online at www.ifi.ie/daff or by calling the IFI Box Office on (01) 6793477. Admssion to the screening of Caramel at The Chester Beatty Library is free and booking is not required.  For more information see www.dublinarabicfilmfestival.ie


Friday, October 5th
20.00     Looking for Oum Kulthum (IFI)

Saturday, October 6th
14.00     Sheikh Jackson (IFI)
14.00     Caramel (Chester Beatty Library)
16.10     The Insult (IFI)

Sunday, October 7th
14.00     House in the Fields (IFI)
16.00     Until the Birds Return (IFI)

Keep an eye on film festivals here and Irish film festivals abroad



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