Middle East Film Festival to be held at Bates

The Middle East Film Festival, sponsored by the Bates Multicultural Center, will be held Jan. 24-31 in the Olin Arts Center. The public is invited to attend all events free of charge.

Organized primarily by Bates students to present political, cultural and social issues of the region from a non-Western perspective, the films focus on countries linked by Islamic religion and culture, according to Czerny Brasuel, director of the Multicultural Center. Many of the films have only recently become available for viewing in the United States.

The festival opens with a panel discussion and reception featuring Middle Eastern foods and desserts Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. in the lobby of the Olin Arts Center. Panel participants will be announced.

The program schedule includes the following films:

  • Monday Jan. 25, Olin Arts Center, Room 104
    7 p.m. Nasser 56, directed by Mohamed Fadel, 1996, 142 minutes. In this black and white docudrama, Egyptian star Ahmad Zaki portrays the behind the-scenes life of Egypt’s charismatic leader.
  • Tuesday Jan. 26, Olin Arts Center, Room 105
    7 p.m. The Tornado El-aasar, directed by Samir Habchi, 1992, 90 minutes. A film about the Lebanese civil war filmed on location.
    8:45 p.m. Once Upon A Time In Beirut, directed by Jocelyn Saab, 1994, 101 minutes. An enchanting look at one of the Middle East’s most complex cities.
  • Wednesday Jan. 27, Olin Arts Center, Room 104
    7 p.m. Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone? directed by Marty Rosenbluth, 1995, 55 minutes. Produced by the Palestinian Housing Rights Movement, the film is a tribute to the thousands of Palestinians living in east Jerusalem without access to basic amenities.
    8:15 p.m. We Are God’s Soldiers, directed by Nahnu Jindulah, 1993, 52 minutes. An unprecedented trip inside the Islamic Movement in the Gaza Strip, including interviews with Hamas leaders.
    9:20 p.m. Children of Fire, directed by Jean Khalil Chamoun and Mai Masri, 1990. 60 minutes. Portrays the role of children during the Palestinian uprising, the Intifada.
  • Thursday Jan. 28, Olin Arts Center, Room 104
    7 p.m. A Door to the Sky, directed by Farida ben Lyzaid, 1989, 107 minutes. A Sufi tale told in metaphoric language through the friendship of two women, this is the first North African film to address the social and economic changes faced by a spiritual Muslim woman.
    9 p.m. Hanan Ashwari: A Woman of Her Time (Palestine), directed by Mai Masri, 1995, 50 minutes. An intimate profile of the Palestinian spokeswoman who is an activist, writer and mother.
  • Friday Jan. 29, Olin Arts Center, Room 104
    7 p.m. Four Women of Egypt, directed by Tahani Rached, 1997, 90 minutes. A documentary exploration of the friendship of women with opposing religious, social and political views in modern Egypt.
    8:45 p.m. The Nights of the Jackal Layli Ibn Awa, directed by Abdulatif Abdulhamid, 1990, 104 minutes. Set in a small Syrian village, the film chronicles the effects of Westernization and war on a Syrian family.
  • Saturday Jan. 30, Olin Arts Center, Room 104
    4 p.m. Journey of Hope, directed by Xavier Koller, 1990, 111 minutes. 1990 Academy Award winner for best foreign language film, it tells the story of a poor Kurdish family living in Turkey as they move toward fulfillment of a dream of freedom in Switzerland.
    7 p.m. Steam: Hamam, The Turkish Bath, directed by Ferzan Ozpetek, 1997, 96 minutes. This film explores the discovery by a young man living in Rome that his deceased aunt, living in the ethereal city of Istanbul, was a remarkable, passionate woman.
  • Sunday Jan. 31, Olin Arts Center, Room 104
    4 p.m. Bab El-Oued City Bab El-wad Al-houm, directed by Merzak Allouache, 1994, 93 minutes. Winner of the Prix Gervais at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival, this movie explores the consequences of an unthinking act by a young man in a working class district of Algiers.
    6 p.m. The White Balloon, directed by Jafar Panahi, 1995, 85 minutes. A tale of a seven-year-old girl’s innocence, this film won the International Critics Prize at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.

For more information about the Middle East Film Festival at Bates, call 207-786-8215.

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