Four films by Arab directors at 'minimally reduced' Venice Int'l Film Festival

Ati Metwaly , Monday 3 Aug 2020

The festival's 77th edition will take place between 2 and 12 September inviting the audience to indoor and outdoor venues on the island of the Lido in the Venice Lagoon


Four films from Arab countries will take part in the 77th Venice International Film Festival, scheduled for 2-12 September.

Gaza Mon Amour by Tarzan Nasser and Arab Nasser, The Man Who Sold His Skin by Kaouther Ben Hania, Zanka Contact by Ismaël El Iraki, and a short titled À fleur de peau (On Edge) by Meriem Mesraoua will be screened as part of the festival's competitive segment Orizzonti (The Horizons), being the only four entries by Arab directors in Venice.

Gaza Mon Amour is a coproduction of Palestine, France, Germany, Portugal and Qatar.

The film takes the viewers to Gaza, Palestine, where, as the IMDb brief reveals, "a sixty-year-old fisherman Issa is secretly in love with Siham, a woman who works at the market with her daughter Leila. When he discovers an ancient phallic statue of Apollo in his fishing nets, Issa hides it, not knowing what to do with this mysterious and potent treasure. Yet deep inside, he feels that this discovery will change his life forever. Strangely, his confidence starts to grow and eventually he decides to approach Siham."

The 87-minute-long film is directed by Palestinian twin brothers Tarzan Nasser and Arab Nasser and stars Salim Daw, Hiam Abbass, Maisa Abd Elhadi, George Iskandar, Hitham Al Omai, and Manal Awad.


Directed by Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania, the 100-minute drama The Man Who Sold His Skin, is a production of Tunisia, France, Germany, Belgium, and Sweden.

According to IMDb, the 2020 production, depicts "a journey of Sam Ali, a Syrian man who fled to Lebanon to escape the Syrian war, hoping to eventually join his lover in Paris."

The Man Who Sold His Skin stars Yahya Mahayni, Dea Liane, Monica Bellucci, Koen de Bouw, Darina Al Joundi, and Christian Vadim.

The film won a $10,000 fund from Beelink Productions at the CineGouna Platform of the second edition of El Gouna Film Festival.


Feature film Zanka Contact is co-produced by France, Morocco and Belgium, written and directed by Moroccan director Ismaël El Iraki.

The film stars Khansa Batma, Ahmed Hammoud, Saïd Bey, Abderrahmane Oubihem and Mourad Zaoui.

Zanka Contact is nominated for several awards at the Orizzonti: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and the Jury Prize.

The plot takes place in Casablanca where "Larsen, a self-destructive has-been rocker, meets Rajae, a singer with a golden voice and a bad temper," reads the synopsis posted by the Doha Film Institute which offered the film a pre-production grant.


Directed by Meriem Mesraoua, a 15-minute short titled À fleur de peau (On edge) is produced by France, Qatar and Algeria.

The film tells the story of young Sarah who tries to redefine her relationship with the others and with herself. After her mother had forbidden her to bite her nails, Sarah realises that she will have to comply with new rules which she does not understand.

The short stars Amina Hilal, Salima Abada, Mohammed Benameur and Hayem Delfi.


Founded in 1932 and organised by La Biennale di Venezia, the Venice International Film Festival is the world's oldest and one of the most prestigious European film festivals, placed among the Big Three (alongside Cannes film festival and Berlinare).

This year, the festival takes place in its usual timing, screening the films on the island of the Lido in the Venice Lagoon.

According to the festival's website, "the screenings will take place in the theatres where they have been traditionally held on the Lido, adopting all the safety measures established by the competent authorities for the health emergency and in force on the date of the event."

In addition, the organisers will install two outdoor arenas in the Giardini della Biennale and in the skating rink on the Lido.

With the festival's official section screening over 50 films this year, the event sees "a minimum reduction of films and sections," the Artistic Director Alberto Barbera stated.

Orizzonti will maintain their usual procedures and format, as per previous years.

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