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The UK’s only Arab cinema festival is coming to London this week

Stories of Passers Through

From Thursday this week, the ICA and the Institut Français will be hosting the SAFAR Film Festival. It’s the UK’s only film fest focused solely on Arab cinema and is a showcase for the cream of Middle Eastern film. This year’s theme looks at cinema’s relationship with literature, and boasts a selection of films from the 1960s to the modern day

As a relatively overlooked area of cinema, some of these Arabic films have never been seen outside the Middle East. For the first time in the UK there will be a screening of 1969 Egyptian film ‘The Land’. ‘El Tareeq’ (‘The Search’), adapted from Naguib Mahfouz’s 1964 novel opens the festival on Thursday. 

Along with feature films, the festival will also host a selection of shorts. Each film, including the short film programme, will be accompanied by a Q&A. 

‘The relationship between literature and Arab cinema has been frequently overlooked by historians and critics,’ says Egyptian film critic Joseph Fahim, who has curated this year’s festival programme. ‘But it is a relationship that reveals volumes about the development and progression of each discipline, whilst also highlighting the diverse history of the nations that spawned them at different intervals of time. Our contemporary selection also explores the wider influence of literary devices such as oral storytelling, memoir and immersive structures.’

The SAFAR Film Festival is presented by The Arab British Centre. The festival kicks off on Thursday September 13 and closes on Tuesday September 18. For tickets, listings and more info visit here.

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