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August 2012

1. FIDAI by Damien Ounouri – Robert Bosch Foundation supports production, World-Premiere at Toronto
2. My Name is Not Ali at the World Film Festival in Montreal, Gate #5 at the Video Library in Venice
4. The Turtle’s Rage in German theatres
5. DVD of the Month

1. FIDAI by Damien Ounouri – Robert Bosch Foundation supports production, World-Premiere at Toronto

We are happy to announce that Robert Bosch Foundation supports the production of Damien Ounouri’s feature documentary FIDAI (German co-producer: mec film). The film has it’s World Premiere on September 7th at the International Film Festival Toronto

During the Algerian revolution, my great-uncle joined his sister in France and integrated a secret FLN armed group. Settling of scores, attempted murder, hiding, imprisonment and finally expulsion in 1962, his personal journey tells the story of countless ex-fighters for Algerian independence, and echoes the current effervescence of the Arab World. Today, at the age of seventy, El Hadi reveals this dark part of his life.
Damien Ounouri, Algeria/France/Qatar/Kuweit/China/Germany 2012, 83 min, Arabic/French Engl. ST

2. My Name is Not Ali at the World Film Festival in Montreal, GATE #5 at the Video Library in Venice

Viola Shafik’s feature documentary MY NAME IS NOT ALI is officially selected to the World Film Festival in Montreal / Canada where it is screened On August 28th, 29th and September 2nd

His anti-racist film Ali – Fear Eats Soul (1973) gained German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder international acclaim. The protagonist, an Arab foreign worker, was played by Moroccan El Hedi Ben Salem M’barek Mohammed Mustafa, Fassbinder’s lover at that time. While the film itself courageously deals with the racism of post-war German society, its makers reproduced the insensibility and invention of the Other, fantasizing their own ‘Salem’. Collage-like, through interviews and archive material, My Name Is Not Ali uncovers the invention of El Hedi Ben Salem by the Fassbinder troupe, an image not revised by most of its members till today.
Viola Shafik, Egypt/Germany 2011, 93 min, HDCAM, German/Arabic/French with English ST

Simon El Habre’s GATE #5 was selected t the video library at the International Film Festival Venice that opens On August 29th.

They were young, loved adventures and had choices. In the 1960s and 70s thousands of young Lebanese left their villages and searched for a new life in the city – as countless like-minded people around the globe. The port of Beirut, the city’s economic lung and central urban district, provided work for truck drivers - a job that stressed masculinity and became a lifestyle. The income allowed the young men to participate in the vibrant urban life, to enjoy their time at the always busy Burj Square with its many cinemas and restaurants as well as to start families.
During the years of the civil war (1975-90) the drivers were needed to maintain the supply of food, goods, and sometime weapons between the divided sectors of country. Some were humble, others were heroic, yet all were adventuresomeness and felt free.
After the war ended the once popular Burj Square, the city’s centre, was demolished, privatized and rebuild for the affluent. Lebanese economy was reorganized, thus globalized. Today fancy restaurants in the new downtown charge in Dollar and sometimes in Euro.
The truck drivers’ universe shrunk to the port where they offer their skills as day laborers now. Yet mostly they kill time and take long journeys in memory. One of them, Najm El Habre, is too sick to join his friends. He found a different way to carry on.
Simon El Habre, Lebanon/UAE 2011, 84 min, color, HDCAM, Arabic with English subtitles


Irit Neidhardt (mec film) was invited to present the Egyptian films of the Banned and Popular program at dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel/Germany. On August 24th and 25th Youssef Cahine’s The Emigrant and Sherif Arafa’s Terrorism and Kebab, both 1992, are presented en bloc. Whilst Chahine’s film passed the state censorship and was twice banned by appliying a paragraph against blasphemies (similar to § 166 in Germany’s Criminal Code) on which’s basis Chahine was sued on the initiative of two citizens Sherif Arafa was a member of Mubarak’s media team in the highly controversial 2005 presidential elections.

4. The Turtle’s Rage in German theatres

Pary El-Qalqili’s award winning THE TURTLE’S RAGE continues playing in German movie theatres. To program the film at your festival or cinema, please contact info@mecfilm.de for a screener or preview on Festivalsope.

When I was 12 years old my father left us to return to Palestine. His dream to build a house and pursue the fight for freedom in Palestine failed. He was expelled by the Israelis. suddenly he was back in Berlin, ringing at our front door. My mother looked at him, did not say a word and let him in. Now he spends his days sitting in the cellar of our small row house. Withdrawn in his turtle shell. My mother lives upstairs. They are not fighting anymore. They try not to cross each other´s path. Not a sound is to be heard. Only the creaking steps of my mother on the stairs. The whirr of the television. And my nagging questions to my father.

The Turtle´s Rage tells the story of a mysterious man, whose life has been molded by flight, expulsion, life in exile and the failed return to Palestine. A torn biography which was affected tremendously by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film is composed of a daughter’s search for answers from her father. Answers he cannot give.
A road movie crossing Egypt, Palestine and Jordan. Father and daughter: Fighting at the airport. Singing with the cab drivers. Lonely nights in hotels. Negotiations at abandoned gas stations. Drinking beer in the Naqab-desert. A story traversed by many nuances, which makes it nearly impossible to think in categories like good and bad, victim and offender or black and white.
Germany 2012, 70 min, digital, German/Arabic

5. DVD of the Month

An ordinary couple, a different day...

Tamer El-Said, Egypt 2004, fiction, shortfilm, 8 min, Arabic
Subtitles: English (EAN: 4280000025173), French (EAN: 42800000180)
PAL, region free

New Egyptian Cinema, Love, Surprise, Day-to-Day Life, Routine

Special Jury award at Sakia Festival for Short Feature Films, Cairo
Best short film award at “Image Encounter”, French cultural center, Cairo
Best short film award at 11th National Film Festival for the Egyptian Cinema, Cairo
Silver Hawk for the short fictions at 5th Arab Film Festival, Rotterdam 
Best short film award at 2nd Al-Fayoum Short Film Festival, Egypt
Ebenseer Bear in Silver award at 33rd Festival of Nations, Austria
Best film award “Faucon d’OR” at 22nd Kelibia International Independent Film Festival, Tunisia
Special Jury award at the Mediterranean 3rd Short Film Festival, Tangier, Morocco

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