The University Of Texas Center For Middle Eastern Studies presents the latest annual installment of the Children Of Abraham/Ibrahim series. Films from the Middle East can open our hearts, minds and understanding about a region that many of us only experience in news reports. For the first time in the Virtual Cinema arena, AFS presents a selection of recent films that shine a light on diverse people and perspectives.
Live discussion hosted by scholar Claire Cooley 3/4. Register for the conversation here.
MAYOR is a real-life political saga following Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah, during his second term in office. His immediate goals: repave the sidewalks, attract more tourism, and plan the city’s Christmas celebrations. His ultimate mission: to end the occupation of Palestine. Rich with detailed observation and a surprising amount of humor, MAYOR offers a portrait of dignity amidst the madness and absurdity of endless occupation while posing a question: how do you run a city when you don’t have a country?
Winner of the Golden Bear at Berlinale, the latest from Nadav Lapid (The Kindergarten Teacher) features a dynamic lead performance from newcomer Tom Mercier, whose feral intensity practically bursts out of the frame. Mercier plays Yoav, a disaffected young Israeli who flees Tel Aviv for Paris to start a new life. Desperate to erase his origins, Yoav sees becoming French as his only hope for salvation. Step one is to replace his language. From now on, he will not utter a single word of Hebrew and his dictionary becomes his constant companion. His work at the Israeli embassy is a burden, but studying for his naturalization test also has its pitfalls. And the young French couple he befriends has some rather strange ideas about how to help him. Based on writer-director Nadav Lapid’s own experiences, Synonyms explores the challenges of putting down roots in a new place. Yoav’s attempts to find himself awaken past demons and open up an existential abyss in this tragicomic puzzle that wisely knows how to keep its secrets.
Live discussion with scholar Babak Tabarraee 3/9. Register for the conversation here.
The Golden Bear winner at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and an official selection of Telluride and AFI Fest, this stunning four-part Iranian drama is the new masterwork from filmmaker Mohammed Rasoulof (Manuscripts Don’t Burn), who is presently under house arrest in Iran. “A major work of Iranian cinema… enraging, enthralling, enduring.” – The Film Stage.
This film is free to view for the first 150 viewers.
Growing up in the Moroccan village of Tazzeka, Elias learned the secrets of traditional Moroccan cuisine from his grandmother who raised him. Years later, meeting a top Paris chef and a young woman named Salma inspires him to leave home. In Paris, Elias faces unstable work and financial hardship as an undocumented immigrant. But he also finds friendship with Souleymane, who helps revive his passion for cooking.