Over the course of eight days, the eighth annual ALFILM paints a transnational picture of contemporary Arab cinema, with many of this year’s highlights co-financed internationally, or made by European filmmakers of Arab origin. Mohamed Diab’s Clash, an Egyptian-French co-production, blends scathing political commentary with high-concept thrills to glorious effect. Set entirely in the back of a police van during Egypt’s 2013 revolution, Diab locks up a disparate crew of Muslim Brotherhood members and military sympathisers and lets the tension simmer to boiling point. The multi-award-winning House Without Roof is an impressive debut for young Kurdish-German writer-director Soleen Yusef. Telling the story of three feuding siblings who return to their Kurdish homeland after the death of their mother, the film positively revels in its emotional twists and explosive confrontations. Open for Bezness is a warm, witty documentary that follows a Dutch man’s attempts to reconnect with his estranged Tunisian father. For a retrospective look, this year’s festival also celebrates the late Egyptian filmmaker Shadi Abdel Salam, whose 1969 masterpiece Al-Mummia was recently restored as part of Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project.
ALFILM – Arab Film Festival Berlin| Mar 31 – Apr 7, various venues, for full programme see website.