‘A Literary Journey Through Arab Cinema’

The latest issue of Banipal magazine — 62 — focuses on the relationship between literature and Arab cinema, ahead of the September SAFAR Film Festival in London, which will focus on the same:

Photo: Valentina Viene

The SAFAR film festival, now in its fourth year, will focus on “the enduring and symbiotic relationship of literature and film in the Arab world, presenting a rich and diverse programme of cinema from the 1960s to the present day.”

The festival is curated by Egyptian film critic Joseph Fahim, and will include screenings of classics like Youssef Chahine’s The Land —  based based on a 1954 novel by Abd al-Rahman al-Sharqawi (1920-1987) that was translated into English as Egyptian Earth (1962) by Desmond Stewart — to more recent films, such as Georges Hachem’s Still Burning, which “explores the thin line between reality and fiction.”

Other highlights from the news release:

Launching the festival this year will be Hossam El-Din Moustafa’s rarely seen classic El-Tareeq (The Search, 1964) with the opening night on 13 September. An existential crime drama adapted from the novel written by the revered Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz, the only Arab winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, this is likely to be the first time the film has been screened publicly in Europe. The finished version of documentary Stories of Passers Through (2017), by Koutaiba Al-Janabi, receives its European premiere and has taken 30 years to make as it details the part-autobiographical journey of thousands of Iraqis as they experience their shared diaspora and displacement. The filmmaker will appear in conversation to discuss his remarkable work after this special screening.

Contemporary titles include Zeina Daccache’s interpretation of One Thousand and One Nights (also known in the UK as The Arabian Nights) Scheherazade’s Diary (2013), which offers a documentary element to the classic tales by inviting the women prisoners of the Baabda Prison in Lebanon to use ancient Arab traditions of storytelling in the presentation of their own stories of domestic violence, failed marriage, and deprivation of motherhood.

The screening of Horses of God (2012), directed by Nabil Ayouch, stands out as the only title to be accompanied by a Q&A with the author of the novel, Mahi Binebine, which shares its title with the adaptation. And in a special screening in conjunction with her UK release, Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir will discuss her father-son story Wajib (2017), which was shot in the biblical city Nazareth. Georges Hachem and Koutaiba Al-Janabi will also appear in conversation.

Find the complete schedule online.

From the Banipal table of contents:

Nadia El-Sebai SAFAR Film Festival 2018

Joseph Fahim Literary Adaptations in Arab Cinema : The Lost Chapter

Amin Zaoui Opium and the Stick: The novel’s poetics and the film’s ambition

Lulu Norman Horses of God: Location and characters the driving force

Haitham El-Zobaidi Wanted: A woman’s literature that can be turned into film

Mahmoud al-Ghitani Fallen Angels Paradise: Egyptian film – Brazilian novel

Wen-chin Ouyang Gate of the Sun: “You should have eaten the oranges”

Najlaa Eltom The Wedding of Zein: What genre could the film possibly be?

Daoud Abdel Sayed: “Literature is a window I look out from onto worlds I don’t know” Interview by Mansoura Ez-Eldin

Koutaiba al-Janabi Stories of Passers Through

Becki Maddock The Dupes and Men in the Sun

Ali Douagi The Broken Streetlight, a short story translated by Karen McNeil and Miled Faiza

Fadhil al-Azzawi Cell Block Five: The present in the past form

Laura Ferreri For Bread Alone: “No more night, when the chains have broken”

More on the issue at www.banipal.co.uk/current_issue/.