2 items from 2015
Put 13 female stereotypes into a beauty parlor in Gaza and what do you get? The jumble that is “Degrade” (with accents on both “E’s”), a cliche-ridden debut from twin brothers Tarzan and Arab Nasser that wastes a talented cast on a film of considerably less depth than Nadine Labaki’s salon-set “Caramel” (and that wasn’t the most profound pic, either). Neither a glimpse of real lives in Gaza nor a cri de coeur against the Occupation, this exaggerated drama, shot in Jordan, will profit from a few fests eager to declare their pro-Palestinian sympathies, but otherwise “Degrade” will quietly fade away.
Auds might think otherwise if they read the description before watching the movie. After all, the notion of an enclosed, all-female space acting as a metaphor for Gaza’s untenable isolation sounds promising. And while the idea of women from various walks of life gradually opening up »
- Jay Weissberg
While studies show that prospects for women directors are stunted in Hollywood, a program backed by a Saudi entrepreneur will create opportunities in the U.S. for Arab female filmmakers. In fact, according to the news from Cannes last week, Arab women are increasingly stepping out on the global stage in the business of moviemaking.
On May 19, Saudi philanthropist and film producer Hani Farsi announced a partnership with UCLA to fund a program that will offer three full four-year scholarships to Arab women, through the school of Theater, Film and Television, to earn graduate degrees in directing.
“I think we can bring about social change through this,” Farsi said at Cannes where, as co-owner of French distribution and sales company Le Pacte, he had eight films for sale this year, including Nanni Moretti’s “My Mother.”
Since 2007, Farsi also has been producing and distributing movies with Arab and Muslim themes via his Corniche Pictures. »
- Nick Vivarelli
2 items from 2015
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