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Arab Film Festival brings struggles of Arab women to Australia

Films from Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Jordan, including Mohamed Khan's Factory Girl, will be screened at the Riverside Theatres in Sydney, Australia, this August as part of the 2014 Arab Film Festival

Ahram Online, Sunday 13 Jul 2014
Still from Mohamed Khan's Factory Girl.
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From 14 to 17 August, the Riverside Theatres in Sydney, Australia, will host the 2014 Arab Film Festival, spotlighting new films from Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine and Jordan that capture the struggles of Arab women in the shadows of political turmoil and change.

"As the revolutions continue to play out, with no winners in sight, the filmmakers are finding ways in which to tell these rich stories," according to the organisers.

The festival is meant to provide a look into the personal stories that lie behind political narratives in societies submerged in struggle and change.

The six films screening this August at the Riverside Theatre and Lennox Theatre are: When I Saw You (Palestine/Jordan), Scheherazade's Diary (Lebanon), Ten Years of My Life (Iraq), Factory Girl (Egypt), May in the Summer (Jordan), and The United (Jordan/Egypt).

Among the most significant films being screened is Mohamed Khan's Factory Girl, which made its world debut in December 2013 at the Dubai International Film Festival. The film, directed by one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Egyptian cinema, has since gained international recognition and several awards. The film tells the story of one year in the life of Hiyam (played by Yasmine Raees), a young woman working in a clothing factory who falls in love with her supervisor. At the heart of the tale is a bigger issue: women who search for independence while being caught in the throes of a repressive society.

Other films in the festival that spotlight strong, struggling women include Scheherazade's Diary, a documentary shot during and in the aftermath of a 10-month theatre project held in 2012 by Zeina Daccache at Lebanon's Baabda Prison, and When I Saw You, Annemarie Jacir's portrait of a young mother and son forced by the 1967 Naksa (setback) to resort to a life of exile in Jordan.

Five short films from Palestine, Jordan and Iraq wll be screened alongside the six feature-length films during the festival.

Festival runs from 14 to 17 August
Riverside Theatres
Church Street, Sydney, NSW 2150, Australia

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