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The Must-See Arab Films at the 2016 Dubai International Film Festival


Mahbas, 2016. Photo: Dubai International Film Festival

The 13th edition of the annual Dubai International Film Festival is currently underway. Taking place at the Madinat Jumeirah, it brings a highly acclaimed lineup of both international and regional films. From December 7 until December 14, the festival is showcasing the latest fiction and non-fiction films directed and written by renowned and emerging Arab screenwriters as part of the Muhr and Arabian Nights programmes. Here is a primer on the must-see Arab films from the week-long event.

The Worthy
Friday, December 9

Directed by Ali F. Mostafa, the Emirati filmmaker behind the acclaimed City of Life, The Worthy is a post-apocalyptic thriller that follows a group of survivors struggling to stay alive and preserve what is left of their remaining water supply.


Photo: Dubai International Film Festival

The Parrot
Saturday, December 10

A world premiere at this year’s film festival, The Parrot is an award-winning short film by Jordanian directors Darin J. Sallam and Amjad Al Rasheed. Featuring Tunisian superstar Hend Sabry alongside Ashraf Barhom, the 18-minute short chronicles a Jewish family’s move to a new home, where they are greeted by a large, talking parrot, which has been left behind by the former Palestinian occupants.


Photo: Dubai International Film Festival

Mahbas (Solitaire)
Sunday, December 11

Mahbas is the debut feature by Lebanese film and music video director, Sophie Boutros. The 92-minute dramatic comedy tells the story of Therese, a mother who can hardly contain her joy as she anticipates her daughter’s suitors. However, her anticipation quickly dissipates once she realizes the guests are from Syria— evoking memories of her deceased brother who was killed by a Syrian explosion.


Photo: Dubai International Film Festival

Inhebek Hedi (Hedi)
Monday, December 12

Tunisian film director Mohamed Ben Attia’s debut film Inhebek Hedi is a romantic drama about an inhibited young man named Hedi. He falls in love with free-spirited globetrotter Rim during a business trip to the seaside town of Mahdia, the same week his controlling mother is preparing his wedding to someone else back home.


Photo: Dubai International Film Festival

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