Arabic and other films — Cantor — start — 01-31-2004

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Date/Time: 31/01/2004 12:00 am

Sleepless Nights (Sahar al-Layali) by Hani Khalifa (Egypt, 2003, 130 min.,
Beta SP)
(New York Premiere)
Egypt’s entry for the 2004 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and the
country’s greatest box-office hit in a decade, Sleepless Nights has been a runaway
hit with Egyptian audiences and critics alike. Starring a Who’s Who of
Egyptian cinema’s younger generation, the film explores four young, well-to-do
couples and their marital problems, including adultery and sexual frustration. The
film’s candid portrayal of sexual relations and its rare criticism of the
institution of marriage created a stir throughout the Middle East. In Arabic with
English subtitles.
Introductory remarks by H.E. Consul General Mahmoud Allam, The Consul General
of Egypt in New York
Post-screening panel discussion with Lawrence Chua (NYU) and Mona Eltahawy
(Arabic Women’s eNews)
This program was made possible through the Film Department’s Directors’
Everything is Gonna be Alright (Kol Shia Haiba’ Tamam) by Tamer Ezzat (Egypt,
2003, 80 min., Beta SP)
(US Premiere)
After his original project is disrupted on September 11th, a filmmaker turns
his camera on himself and fellow Egyptians in New York City. Whether in front
of the news tickers and chaotic bustle of Times Square or relaxing in suburban
Queens, these writers, teachers, reporters and street vendors talk hopefully,
critically and openly about Arabs’ status in the U.S., media manipulation and
why they love (or hate) New York. Featuring NYU professor Khaled Fahmy. In
English & Arabic with English subtitles.
Preceded by
Universal Games by Mariam Ghani (USA, 2000, 2:20 min., Beta SP)
Universal Games manipulates footage from one week of New York network TV news
in October 2000, when the two top stories were the “Subway Series” between
the Yankees and the Mets and the escalation of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, exposing an
unnerving similarity in the media’s reporting on stories of wildly varying
Post-screening panel discussion with Mehdi Bozorghehr (CUNY Graduate Center)
and Anny Bakalian (CUNY Graduate Center) and Deputy Consul, Nelly Elorabi,
(Consulate General of Egypt in New York).
The Fifth Reaction (Vakonesh-e Panjom) by Tahmineh Milani (Iran, 2003, 106
min., 35 mm)
From veteran director Tahmineh Milani, long a pioneer in women’s issues,
comes The Fifth Reaction, the most controversial film in Tehran’s 2003 Fajr Film
Festival. Fereshteh, played by celebrated Iranian actress Niki Karimi, is a
recently widowed schoolteacher who finds herself pitted against her
father-in-law, a powerful Tehran businessman, for custody of her two sons. Aided by her
female friends, she plots to escape with her children, leading to a suspenseful
drama reminiscent of Thelma & Louise. In Farsi with English subtitles.
Post-screening panel discussion with Rabeah Ghaffari (Filmmaker, NYC) and
Kamran Rastegar (Columbia University)
Program co-presented by the Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, NYU
Diary of an Art Competition (Under Curfew) (Yawmyat Musabaqa Fanniya (tahta
al-hisar) by Omar Al-Qattan (Palestine/U.K., 2003, 16 min., DVD)
(New York Premiere)
In the early autumn of 2002, seven young Palestinian artists gather in
Ramallah to present their work in a group exhibition for the A.M. Qattan Young
Artist of the Year 2002 Award. Others, unable to attend because of the total
closure of the Gaza Strip where they live, send their work through foreign
diplomatic pouches. This poignant video diary recounts the events surrounding the
exhibition and explores art’s relationship to resistance, politics and violence. In
English & Arabic with English subtitles.
Paint! No Matter What (Naghashi Kon!) by Maziar Bahari (Iran, 2001, 26 min.,
Beta SP)
(US Premiere)
The traumatic experience of war and the accompanying realization that death
may come at any moment convince Khosrow Hassanzadeh to make painting his top
priority. Taking a job in a grocery to support his work as a painter, he gains
inspiration from the day-to-day struggles of his fellow Iranians. Though his
family is less than supportive and no one will exhibit his work, Khosrow
persists in creating paintings in stark contrast to popular works, which represent
the official version of Iranian society. In Farsi with English subtitles.
Ouarzazate Movie by Ali Essafi (Morocco/France, 2001, 57 min., Beta SP)
(US Premiere)
Ali Essafi’s bitingly comic documentary is a portrait of a small Moroccan
town whose economy is driven by the many movie crews drawn by its exotic desert
scenery. Turning his camera on crabby casting directors for an Italian biblical
epic, would-be extras in Astérix et Obélix and an old local hand who once
carried Pasolini’s bags, Essafi cannily skewers the international film industry
and the disparity between movie magic and economic reality. In French, English
and Arabic with English subtitles.
Post-screening panel discussion with Shiva Balaghi (NYU) and Maysoun Freij
Sacrifices (Sunduq al-Dunya) by Ossama Mohammad (Syria/France, 2002, 113
min., 35 mm)
(US Premiere)
In a remote Syrian village, an aging patriarch seeks to pass on his name to
one of his grandsons before he dies. Unfortunately, he can no longer tell the
growing number of grandchildren apart. Three of his descendants wander nameless
through a fantastical world, searching for pleasure and salvation. The first
finds it in self-effacement and submission, the second in love and the third
in power, violence and cruelty. As an eternal witness of life, a village tree
is witness to their quest as it has unfolded time and time again over the
last 2,000 years. In Arabic with English subtitles.
Post-screening panel discussion with Souheil Shadoud (Columbia University)
and Rasha Salti (ArteEast, NYC & Ashkal-Alwan, Beirut)
Kasaba (The Small Town) by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey, 1997, 82 min., 35 mm)
Film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan recently came to international attention when
his latest film Uzak won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes. His first feature
film, Kasaba, marks the emergence of Ceylan’s unique talent and offers a poetic
contemplation of the division between city and village animating Turkish
society. Told from the perspective of two children, Kasaba is a nuanced and
reflective film following three generations of a family in a small town and a desire
for cities as sites of the modern and new. Meditating on natural objects and
human expressions, Ceylan’s stunning visual vocabulary provides a lens with
which to examine Turkish culture and identity. In Turkish with English subtitles.
Preceded by
Jagadakeer… Between the Near and East by Tina Bastajian (USA, 2001, 19 min.,
Beta SP)
“Jagadakeer” is an Armenian term meaning fate, destiny or, literally, “what
is written on the forehead.” Filmmaker Tina Bastijian’s fate was to find in
film a space in which to explore issues of memory, erasure, nostalgia, absence
and reconnection, using the Armenian genocide as point of departure. A collage
of stylized tableaus, found footage and home movies, this personal meditation
is not just about her grandmother, great-aunts or the Turks; it is about
Bastijian herself and her efforts to articulate the original trauma into film
language–to position the real and the imagined, the heard and unheard, the
longed-for and the denied. In English, Armenian, Turkish and Arabic with English
Post-screening panel discussion with Sibel Erol (NYU) and Anahid Kassabian
(Fordham University)
Program co-presented by the Moon and Stars Project
Dancing in the Dust (Raghs Dar Ghobar) by Asghar Farhadi (Iran, 2003, 95
min., 35 mm)
(NY Premiere)
Dark and intense, Dancing in the Dust continues Iranian cinema’s
post-revolutionary style of ethics of social life, yet marks the emergence of a new
generation of Iranian films. Nazar, torn by his love for a woman deemed
inappropriate by social standards, tries to fulfill his obligation to the law and the
community by paying off the bride-price, only to find himself in desperate
straits. His entanglement with a solitary snake catcher in the desert brings physical
and emotional distress to both, but hope and love are not lost in this
stunning, lyrical tale. In Farsi with English subtitles.
Preceded by
The Axe by Ahmad Arbani (Iran, 1981, 9 min., 35 mm)
In this lovely animated film, a malicious axe that starts hacking trees,
bushes and flowers threatens the existence of a happily thriving forest. The
individual efforts of the plants to stop the axe fail. But when the entire forest
discovers the power of unified action, the axe is doomed. No dialog.
Viewpoints by Farshid Mesghali (Iran, 1978, 11 min., 35 mm)
Any subject can be surveyed from different aspects. A man as subject is
viewed differently by the various people in his life according to their
relationship. No dialog.
Post-screening panel discussion with Bilge Ebiri (New York Magazine) and
Richard Pena (Film Society of Lincoln Center)
The series’ spring season takes place at NYU’s Cantor Film Center. All
screenings begin at 6:00 PM. General admission: $9, student admission: $7. Complete
series details, advance online tickets and discounted festival passes are
available at
ArteEast, Inc. was established in 2003 to exhibit the works of artists and
filmmakers from the Middle East and its diaspora. ArteEast offers a unique
multicultural approach to covering a wide spectrum of Middle Eastern artists and
viewpoints rather than focusing solely on artists and projects from one nation,
ethnicity or region. Future projects include a winter 2004 art exhibition at
Arts International, the launch of a virtual online gallery and a program of
Syrian cinema. Visit www.arteeast.org for more information and to read ArteNews,
our informative, web-based newsletter reporting on the arts scene in the
Middle East.
CINEMA EAST is a collaborative project of ArteEast, Inc. and the Department
of Middle East Studies at NYU. The program is cosponsored by the Center for the
Study of Gender and Sexuality, NYU; the Office of International Students,
NYU; the Film Department, NYU; The Kevorkian Center, NYU; Arabic Women’s eNews,
the Moon and Stars Project and Print Icon.
This program is supported by the Egyptian Consulate, NYC and the Syrian
National Film Organization, and funded in part by the Manhattan Community Arts Fund
/ New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Lower
Manhattan Cultural Council, People Helping People Help Themselves, and the New
York Council for the Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for
the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed
in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment
for the Humanities.
Rasha Salti
Director of Film Programs
490 Third Street, #2
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Tel & Fax: 718 832 65 64
Website: www.arteeast.org
Email: rsalti@arteeast.org and rasalti@aol.com