Arab British Centre present Safar. A Journey Through Popular Arab Cinema

Arab British Centre in partnership with the ICA and Dubai International Film Festival present the full programme for Safar: A Journey Through Popular Arab Cinema. 21 September 2012 3:00pm – 27 September 2012 9:00pm.

This week-long series of classic and contemporary popular cinema will take audiences on a journey of gripping dramas, subversive comedies and exaggerated melodramas, taking in an array of rarely seen and re-mastered cinematic masterpieces as well as new releases, many never before seen on British screens. An unmissable and irreverent slice of Arab life, full of unexpected surprises.

The programme explores a fifty-year period of filmmaking that demonstrates the diversity and complexity of Arab cinema. Focusing on Egyptian cultural production (as the historical epicentre of Arab cinema), the programme also includes recent popular hits from Lebanon and Jordan.

The series avoids presenting cultural stereotypes of the conflicted present without shying away from controversy. Instead, Safar: A Journey Through Popular Arab Cinema invites audiences to experience local popular culture and debate film’s effectiveness in conveying social histories.

With so many Arab countries in the midst of restructuring themselves both politically and socially, it seems more urgent than ever to give these films a platform in the UK. Including literary adaptations such as The Yacoubian Building and box office smash-hits such as Bosta, as well as films starring cinematic icons such as Adel Imam, a pre-Lawrence of Arabia Omar Sharif, and contemporary stars Nadine Labaki and Khaled Abol Naga, Safar: A Journey Through Popular Arab Cinema offers a rich programme that is accessible to both mainstream British audiences and fans of World Cinema alike.

Screening highlights include:

• Bosta – the first post-war musical made in Lebanon and a box office record-breaker starring Caramel actress Nadine Labaki.
• Terrorism and the Kebab – a farcical comedy starring controversial comedy legend Adel Imam, denouncing the absurdity of bureaucracy in modern Egypt. Adel Imam is often described as ‘the Charlie Chaplin of Arab Cinema’.
• Watch out for ZouZou – stars tragic Egyptian screen icon Soad Hosni; a sensual film made before the demise of cultural liberalism.
• Alexandria, Why? – A hugely popular film directed by Arab Cinema’s auteur Youssef Chahine. This charming film is a homage to the Golden Era of the Hollywood musical.

The programme is accompanied by a discussion forum and a series of Q&As with internationally renowned experts, leading actors and filmmakers, including Khaled Abol Naga (One-Zero), Nadim Sawalha (Captain Abu Raed), Hussein Fahmy (Watch out for ZouZou) and Marwan Hamed (The Yacoubian Building).

Safar: A Journey Through Arab Cinema is curated by Egyptian-born, UK-based writer, curator and producer, Omar Kholeif.

Full film listings and information at: