For the fourth year, the Boston Palestine Film Festival and MFA Film are proud to present a survey of the very best contemporary films from the Arab region of North Africa and the Middle East. This year’s festival opens with the Lebanese stunner Capernaum, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and includes the touching drama Yomeddine, Egypt’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. For newcomers to Arab cinema or devoted fans, this festival is not to be missed.
2018 | Drama | 126 min
Friday June 7, 2019 7:30p
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Capernaum ("Chaos") follows the journey of a gutsy, streetsmart 12-year-old boy, Zain, who survives the ubiquitous dangers of the Beirut slums after fleeing his neglectful parents, later taking them to court for the crime of giving him life. Capernaum was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in the 91st Academy Awards.
The Man Behind the Microphone (Tunisia)
2017 | Creative Documentary | 90 min
Saturday June 8, 2019 3:00p
Known as the "Frank Sinatra of Tunisia," Hedi Jouini is the most popular musical star in Tunisian history. His songs inspire revolutionaries and reactionaries alike, striking at the heart of the post-colonial social and political upheaval in Tunisia and its continuing search for identity in the wake of the Arab Spring. But why did the late Jouini keep his fame hidden from his family? Determined to learn more about the enigmatic grandfather whose fame and talent she only accidentally discovered after his death, filmmaker Claire Belhassine embarked on a quest to find out. The film builds a profound portrait of the godfather of Tunisian music-father to a nation, yet not to his family.
The Poetess (Saudi Arabia)
Stefanie Brockhaus and Andreas Wolff
2017 | Documentary | 89 min
Sunday June 9, 2019 3:00p
Saudi poetess Hissa Hilal is a self-taught writer, and she says what she thinks. Her weapon is her word. She decides to take part in Million's Poet, an Abu Dhabi-based TV show. The Arab world's biggest poetry competition, it is dominated by men. Nonetheless, Hissa becomes the first woman to reach the finals. How did this fearless veiled housewife gain the knowledge and the courage to step on stage and risk her life?
The Day I Lost My Shadow (Yom Adaatou Zouli) (Syria)
2018 | Drama | 94 min
Thursday June 13, 2019 8:00p
A young mother struggles to raise her young son alone in war-torn Syria in 2012, during a frigid winter. Between water outages and power cuts, she decides to venture out in search of a gas cylinder. The planned day trip, however, swiftly spins out of control. This beautiful, haunting, and unforgettable magical realist cinematic tale--part mother-and-son story, part road movie, and completely a war film--uses the metaphor of a shadow, something we all believe will always be there, as a symbol of broken realities.
Yomeddine (Judgment Day) (Egypt)
2018 | Drama Comedy | 97 min
Friday, June 14, 2019 8:00p
Beshay, a Coptic man cured of leprosy, has never left the leper colony in the Egyptian desert where he has lived since his family abandoned him there as a child. Following the death of his wife, he finally decides to go in search of his roots. With his meager possessions strapped to a donkey cart, he sets out and is quickly joined by Obama, a Nubian orphan. Together, they cross Egypt on a quest for a home and confront the world with all its sorrows, hardships, and moments of grace.
The Blessed (Les Bienheureux) (Algeria)
2017 | Drama | 102 min
Saturday, June 15, 2019 3:00p
Set over the course of a single night, this warm, intimate drama explores the societal changes that have happened in the 20 years since the Algerian Civil War as experienced through two generations --a middle-aged couple celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary and their teenaged son hanging out in the city with his friends.
aKasha (The Roundup) (Sudan)
2018 | Romantic Comedy | 78 min
Sunday June 16, 2019 1:00p
An offbeat Sudanese love story set in a time of civil war. Adnan is a Sudanese war hero whose love for his AK-47 is rivaled only by his feelings for his sweetheart, Lina. When Adnan is late to return to his military unit after leave, the army commander launches a "kasha," a round up and arrest of truant soldiers. Distracted by Lina, Adnan makes a run for it. Through a series of wry and humorous incidents over a fateful 24 hours, aKasha offers a rare window into life, love, and ideology in rebel-held areas of Sudan.
Dear Son (Weldi) (Tunisia)
Mohamed Ben Attia
2018 | Drama | 104 min
Sunday June 16, 2019 3:00p
Riadh is about to retire from his work as a forklift operator at the port of Tunis. The life he shares with his wife Nazli revolves around their only son Sami, who is preparing for his high school exams. The boy's repeated migraine attacks are a cause of much worry to his parents. Just when he finally seems to be getting better, Sami suddenly disappears. A vague Facebook message explains that he has joined friends in Syria. Riadh sets out in search of his son.