From the April 20 to 26, 2022 the 13th edition of ALFILM – Arab Film Festival Berlin presents over 44 feature fictions, documentaries, short and animation films with high artistic value in four cinemas in Berlin: Arsenal cinema, City Kino Wedding, CineStar cinema in the KulturBrauerei and silent green Kulturquartier.
In the ALFILM SELECTION current film productions from the last two years paint a multifaceted picture that immerses us in the cultural diversity of the Arab world, from Somalia to Morocco, from Yemen to Palestine, and offers a critical, often disturbing view of current political and social issues, raising questions about identity, migration, social deficiencies and personal crisis. The ALFILM SPOTLIGHT, entitled From Civil War to Chaos: A Tribute to Filmic Resistance, takes place under the patronage of Volker Schlöndorff, and is dedicated to Lebanon. This curated film program draws particular attention to the abuses and mismanagements that led to the current crisis in Lebanon through the lens of the filmmakers who creatively take their destiny into their own hands, transforming trauma and experiences into films and thus actively shaping resistance. filmmakers who live in exile in Berlin and Germany are invited to reflect and analyse issues related to identity, belonging, film language, equal opportunities, production possibilities and film funding during a two-day workshop held at silent green. The ALFILM shorts program Arab Films from the Diaspora introduces works from Diaspora filmmakers.
Friday, April 22, 7.30 pm
My Father Is Still a Communist
Documentary, director: Ahmed Ghossein, Lebanon/United Arab Emirates, 2011, 32 min., Arab. with En. ST
All that is left from the relationship between Rachid and Mariam, Ahmed Ghossein's parents, is a large number of radio cassettes sent as love letters during the Lebanese civil war. Using these tapes together with images from the present and the past, My Father is Still a Communist creates a unique space where an intimate diary is transformed into a work of collective memory.
Documentary, director: Hady Zaccak, Lebanon, 2011, 68 min., Arab. with En. ST
Marcedes takes us on a journey across Lebanon’s history from the 1950s until today through the perspective of a very influential family of German migrants: the Mercedes cars, labeled locally “Marcedes”. The story of this powerful German-Lebanese family starts with the arrival of the Mercedes Ponton, the 180 model (1953-1962), which became a pop icon of the pre-war Lebanon and witnessed the many transformations the country underwent during and after the civil war. Using rare archive material, Marcedes is conceived as a playful and affectionate chronicle of almost 5 decades of Lebanese history, exploring the involvement of the “Marcedes” Ponton and its descendants in the Lebanese political scene and in the daily life of the country's citizens.
Saturday, April 23, 7.30 pm
Erased, __ Ascent of the Invisible
Essayist documentary, director: Ghassan Halwani, Lebanon, 2018, 76 min., Arab. with En. ST
35 years ago a man was abducted in Beirut and has been missing ever since. 10 years ago his face reappeared, but was it really the same man? Director Ghassan Halawani takes the viewer on a forensic paper chase, using different artistic and investigative techniques. He uncovers, layer by layer, the darkest chapters of Lebanese history on walls, documents, and urban architecture. Looking for the abducted man of the past, whose vision still haunts him, he finds the ghost of other “disappeared” in the present, in doing so he questions the concepts of truth and its reprocessing today.
Sunday, April 24, 7.30 pm
Before the Dying of the Light
Documentary, director: Ali Essafi, Morocco 2020, 70 min., Arab./Fr. with En. ST
1961, King Hassan II ascends the throne of Morocco and stays in power for the next four decades, initiating a reign of repression. Opposition figures are persecuted and often forced into exile. Artists have to struggle with censorship. The once flourishing cultural scene suffers from strong restrictions and prohibition. Political opponents are imprisoned, tortured, and some disappear altogether. Many fates remain unclear to this day.
In his documentary, Ali Essafi interweaves archive material with interviews with actors from the Moroccan film and cultural scene of the 1970s. The combination of posters, drawings, photos and film clips, accompanied by Chaabi and Jazz music creates a dense tapestry of impressions that gives viewers an insight into the difficult living and working conditions of the time.
Sunday, April 24, 9 pm
Don’t Get Too Comfortable
Documentary, director: Shaima El Tamimi, USA/Katar/Netherlands, 2021, 9 min., Arab./En. with En. ST
A letter from a granddaughter to her long-dead grandfather. In this short film, Shaima El Tamimi interweaves old family photos, self-portraits, and collages, creating a family archive that retraces the collective experience of Yemeni migration over the last fifty years.
The Colonel's Stray Dogs
Documentary, director: Khalid Shamis, South Africa/Libya/Qatar 2021, 73 min., En./Arab. with En. ST
When Muammar Gaddafi seizes power in 1969, Ashur Shamis, who left Libya for the UK in the beginning of the 1960s, becomes part of the organised resistance. For decades he fights against the regime and becomes a Libyan enemy of the state. A bounty of 1 million dollars is put on his head. Despite everything, he keeps his political activities secret from his children. When Shamis is finally able to return to his homeland for the first time after Gaddafi's fall, he is quickly faced with the question of whether there is a place there for people who share his ideals. In The Colonel's Stray Dogs, director Khalid Shamis questions his father's decisions and paints the portrait of a man whom he never quite managed to grasp.
Friday, April 22 – Sunday, April 24
Tickets: 9€, red. 8€