Monday, January 30, 2006

Back from Sundance

Got back from the Sundance Film Festival yesterday. It was a terrific time. It rejuvinated my excitement to see more independent and international films.

One of the best pieces we saw was a documentary called "TV Junkie". This man, Rick Kirkam, recorded over 3,000 hours of his life on camera, a video diary. A very honest one where he documented his family, his drug abuse, his downward spiral into self-destruction. Wow what a story. You enter this man's life and get to experience the most honest depiction of the human journey. It makes you reflect on your life. What if you could go back and do one thing differently, what would it be?

Another excellent night was a combo screening of a short from Palestinian director Sameh Zoabi, "Be Quiet" and a feature film from a Jewish Australian director, Tony Krawitz, titled "Jewboy". What a wonderful combination as both movies delt with youth's rebellion and questioning of authority. A terrific theme. Very different styles of storytelling. In be quiet, while on a ride through a checkpoint, a boy questions his father how come he's accepted the oppresed living conditions he's under. In Jewboy, a Rabbi-to-be begins rebelling against the oppressed Orthodox life-style he's lived under his whole life. Some beautiful cinematography here and wonderful performances in both films.

Another interesting film was "Dunia" aka "Kiss Me Not on the Eyes" from Lebanese director, Jocelyn Saab. It's a very sensual film that on the outside is a beautiful picture of the art of belly dancing in Egypt told through a woman's journey to find passion for a man, but a much darker film when you realize it's about genital mutilation and its effect on women. A subject of high controversy in Egypt. While the film was a bit long and sometimes maybe overindulgent, I thought it was a great contribution to quality Arabic Cinema.

It's a very exciting time for Arabic cinema. Between Paradise Now and these films entering major festivals, I think we're beginning to make a new impression on the world. I hope to have a Jordanian film at Sundance next year.


Blogger Dar said...

Inshallah next year u will have a film there that is gonna impress everyone !

1:08 PM  
Anonymous bilotee said...

well I hope a quality Jordanian film would be 'dancing in the sun' soon...

5:21 PM  

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