The 2020 Middle East Film Festival, running from 14 to 19 February at Golden Village VivoCity is presented by the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore, and supported by the Singapore Film Society.
Acting Director’s Foreword
Movies provide us with a brief respite and the chance to escape into countries, regions and worlds that we might never otherwise consider visiting.
In an era where we can endlessly and easily stream, access and become lost in the world of blockbuster movies from Hollywood, Bollywood and increasingly, China, we risk losing touch with the wonder of sitting in a darkened theatre, surrounded by strangers and a world of emotions, experiences and incredible visuals. There is something magical about a movie theatre.
Blockbuster movies are exciting, visual and, increasingly sophisticated in their technology. But the films that truly touch our hearts and linger in our souls long after we have seen them, are those that speak about the everyday, that allow us to enter into the lives of the seemingly ordinary, and, in the process reveal to us the extraordinariness and the resilience of everyday people –individuals who are much like you and I, but who live in countries and regions where life can be stark, uncomfortable and plainly hard.
Each year, the Middle East Institute at NUS works closely with its partners to curate a collection of films that we hope will speak to you each in their own special way. Thank you for joining us and I hope that you will enjoy our 2020 Middle East Film Festival.
Tickets are available from 30 Jan 2020 at www.gv.com.sg
|THE PERFECT CANDIDATE (TBA)
Maryam is an ambitious young doctor working in a small-town clinic in Saudi Arabia. After she is prevented from travelling to Dubai in search of a better job, a bureaucratic mix-up leads her to stumble upon the application for her local city elections, and she decides to run as a candidate. While she faces the restriction of women’s traditional roles in the Kingdom at every turn, Maryam’s audacious candidacy starts to build momentum and challenges her conservative community.
14 Feb (Fri): 7.30pm (By Invitation only),
19 Feb (Wed): 9.10pm
|A SON (TBA)
Tunisia, summer 2011. A family holiday to southern Tunisia ends in disaster for Fares, Meriem and their 10-year-old son Aziz when he is accidentally shot in a terrorist ambush. His injury will change their lives as Aziz needs a liver transplant, which leads to the discovery of a long-buried secret. Will Aziz and the couple’s relationship survive?
15 Feb (Sat): 4.00pm
16 Feb (Sun): 1.30pm
|THE DAY AFTER I’M GONE (PG13)
Yoram, a 50-year-old veterinarian living in Tel Aviv, is forced to re-examine his relationship with his adolescent daughter Roni after she wishes to end her life. He decides to take her on a journey to visit her mother’s family, setting off a process of self and mutual discovery in the primordial desert land enveloping the Dead Sea.
16 Feb (Sun): 4.30pm
19 Feb (Wed): 7.00pm
|THE UNKNOWN SAINT (TBA)
Amine steals a big bag of money and escapes into the hills with the police hot on his heels. Before he is arrested, he digs a grave to bury the cash and disguises it as a modest tomb. Years later, he is released from prison and sets off to find his money. However, a religious shrine honouring an unknown saint has been built directly over the place he buried his cash. With his loot now hidden in a holy place, retrieving it suddenly becomes much more complicated.
16 Feb (Sun): 6.45pm
18 Feb (Tue): 9.15pm
Algeria, the 1990s. Nedjma, an 18-year-old student passionate about fashion design, refuses to let the tragic events of the Algerian Civil War keep her from experiencing a normal life and going out at night with her friend Wassila. As the social climate becomes more conservative, she rejects the new bans set by the radicals and decides to fight for her freedom and independence by putting on a fashion show.
15 Feb (Sat): 6.45pm (Begins with a Pre-screening Cultural Talk)
17 Feb (Mon): 9.15pm
|A TALE OF THREE SISTERS (M18)
Three sisters, Reyhan, Nurhan and Havva are reunited in the remote mountain village where they grew up with their father, after living as besleme (foster child and maid) with their foster parents in the city. All three desire to return to the city as soon as possible, whether this could be achieved depends on their tactics of solidarity, competition, and on the decisions of the men around them.
15 Feb (Sat): 9.30pm
18 Feb (Tues): 6.50pm
|THE ORPHANAGE (NC16)
In the late 1980s, 15-year-old Qodrat lives on the streets of Kabul and sells cinema tickets on the black market. A big Bollywood fan, he daydreams himself into some of his favourite movie scenes. One day, the police take him to the Soviet orphanage. But in Kabul, the political situation is changing. Qodrat and all the children want to defend their home.
14 Feb (Fri): 9.15pm
17 Feb (Mon): 7.00pm