Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Middle Eastern film festival in NYC

CinemaEast Film Festival 2005:
ArteEast’s first annual CinemaEast Film Festival, building on five seasons of its popular film series, will be held at the Quad Cinema in New York City, November 4-10, 2005.

Mature and often surprising new talent is thriving amongst Arab, Turkish and Iranian directors, actors and producers, who are challenging existing sociopolitical and artistic traditions with intelligence, ingenuity and humor. The CinemaEast Film Festival will highlight the best of this established and up-and-coming talent, with an emphasis on films that have not yet received widespread recognition due to a lack of international distributors and political sensitivities inherent in many established festivals.

Sounds promising. I have watched several films coming out of Iran, especially by Majid Majidi. Besides the stunning camerawork, what struck me the most was the ability of the filmmakers to convey very humane stories through the simplest of plots. When Zohre and Ali lose a pair of shoes in The Children of Heaven, you find yourself getting involved in their lives completely, with every scene unfolding a new adventure as the poor kids concoct a plan to share the remaining pair of shoes between them as school begins. The vividness of the scenery and the dialogues have an everlasting impact.

If the festival uncovers any talent even close to Majidi, it will have done a great service.