A recommended list of what to watch at AIFF 2023, part 2

A diverse lineup of Arab shorts and documentaries to watch at AIFF 2023

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(file photo: Jordan News)
Embark on a cinematic journey through the captivating narratives of Jordanian and Arab filmmakers as the Amman International Film Festival presents its highly anticipated fourth edition.اضافة اعلان

 From heartfelt tales of sisterhood and courage to stories of hope and resilience, this curated list unveils the hidden treasures of Jordanian cinema that are set to captivate audiences worldwide.
Here are our recommend list to keep your eyes on:

Jordanian Gems
A Calling. From the Desert. to the Sea, directed by Murad Abu Eisheh – JordanGenre: Animation

Ahlam and Yasmin are two sisters who live in a secluded desert community. Ahlam is married off to a man she does not love, and she fears that the same fate will befall Yasmin. One day, Ahlam tells Yasmin a story about a mythical sea that lies beyond the desert and its mountains. Yasmin is captivated by the story, and she agrees to run away with Ahlam to find the sea.
The film A Calling. From the Desert. To the Sea is a story about sisterhood, courage, and self-discovery.

Kroka, directed by Samer Z. M. Battikhi - Jordan
Genre: Comedy-Drama

The film is a comedy-drama about a young woman named Yomna who is passionate about theater. Yomna works at the last independent theater in town, which is controlled by the Brown Suits Committee, an old-fashioned and greedy group of middle-aged men led by Mr. Ameen.
Kroka is a film about the power of art and the importance of free speech. It is a timely and important film that will resonate with audiences of all ages.

Dinar, directed by Moawea Al-Omari - JordanGenre: Drama, Comedy

The film tells the story of Hadeel, a young Palestinian refugee living in the Al-Hosn refugee camp in Jordan. Every morning, Hadeel wakes up and sets out with her small cart to collect recyclable waste. She sells the waste to earn her daily dinar, which is precious to her because it is intended for a specific purpose that is close to her heart.

Dinar is a film about hope and resilience. It is a story about a young woman who refuses to give up on her dreams, even in the face of adversity.

The Visit, directed by Ali Al-Saadi - Jordan Genre: Drama

The Visit is a film inspired by true events. It tells the story of a young woman named Abeer who tries to help her mother, Noura, get over the absence of her son, Omar. Omar was killed in a car accident 10 years ago, and Noura has never been able to come to terms with his death.

The Visit is a film about the power of grief and the importance of family.

Abed, directed by Abedalsalam Al-haj - JordanGenre: Drama

A nine-year-old boy named Abed who works with his abusive father in a restaurant is forced to face his extreme fear of darkness when he is sent to buy a pack of cigarettes for his father late at night.

The film is about Abed's journey of self-discovery and empowerment and a reminder that everyone has the power to overcome their fears.

Closure, directed by Mooney Abu Samra - Jordan
Genre: Drama

A film about a determined young geologist named Sarah who finds herself stranded in the vast expanse of the desert after her team of geologists is drowned in a flash flood caused by climate change. Sarah is the lone survivor, and she must find a way to survive in the harsh desert environment.

Closure is a film about hope, resilience, and the power of the human spirit.

International shorts to keep your eyes on
Buzz, directed by Mohamed Fawi - Sudan
Genre: Drama

A film about a mother who is dying of cancer. As her health deteriorates, she watches her son and daughter prepare for her inevitable passing and their new reality

Buzz is a film about love, loss, and the importance of family and community.

My Girl Friend, directed by Kawthar Younis - Egypt
Genre: Drama

The film tells the story of a young man who disguises himself as a woman in order to visit his sweetheart without fear of censorship. The film explores the intimacy that men often lack in their relationship to their bodies, and it challenges traditional ideas about gender roles.

"My Girlfriend" is a thought-provoking film that challenges traditional ideas about gender roles and the way that men relate to their bodies. It is a film that is sure to spark conversation and introspection.

Hamza: Chasing the Ghost Chasing Me, directed by Ward Kayyal - Palestine 
Genre: Drama

Hamza is a middle-aged man who goes into the woods every day to hunt a lion that no one else believes exists.

The film explores Hamza's internal struggle as he navigates the aftermath of his imprisonment, and it touches on broader themes of trauma, memory, and societal perception.

Documentaries not to miss
Heroic Bodies, directed by Sara Suliman - SudanTells the story of the systematic oppression of women in Sudan. The film begins by tracing the history of this oppression, which dates back to the 16th century. The film then goes on to present many examples of the ways in which women's bodies have been regarded and treated as property, from women forced to live as concubines or slaves, to genital mutilation and facial disfigurement.

The film is a powerful and moving testament to the strength and resilience of women in Sudan, and it is a call to action for all who believe in equality and justice.

Baghdad on Fire, directed by Karrar Al-Azzawi – Iraq
The story of the October 2019 protests in Iraq. The protests were sparked by the government's decision to raise fuel prices, but they quickly turned into a broader movement against corruption and government inefficiency. The protests were met with a violent crackdown by security forces, and hundreds of people were killed.

"Baghdad on Fire" is a powerful and moving film that captures the hopes and dreams of a new generation of Iraqis. It is a film that is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever fought for a better future while it is a valuable and important document of a critical moment in Iraqi history.

Fragments from Heaven, directed by Adnane Baraka – Morocco
In the deserts of Morocco, a group of nomads search for meteorites under the dome of the sky to sell them to science. This cosmic film is a profound, existential experience that fills the cinema screen as few other films.

With sparse dialogue and a unique cinematic setting, "Fragments from Heaven" evokes both the absurdity and the defiant, almost transcendental dimension of the quest for the meteorite – and for meaning in human existence – to which these weather-bitten men have dedicated their lives.

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