No Visa Required showcases films and filmmakers from North Africa and the Middle East.
Happy Days in Palestine
Screenwriter: Fouad Elkoury
France, 1998, 83 mins., Video
This film tells an oft-forgotten story of Palestine, that of a pre-Israeli society happily living on its land. Using old photographs collected by the Arab Image Foundation and the testimonies of five women born in Palestine before 1948, the film recalls ordinary moments of life before the current history of violence and suffering. In Arabic and French with English subtitles. Screenwriter Fouad Elkoury, was born in 1952 in Paris of Lebanese parents.
Saturday 22 October 2005 at 6:30 p.m.
I Love Cinema
Director: Oussama Fawzi
Egypt 2004, 125 min., 35mm
“If I go to hell, will I see all the famous actors there?” So goes young, movie-mad Naïm’s hopeful logic in response to his strict father’s lectures on the evils of the cinema. But while he pines for onscreen exploits in 1966 Cairo, Naïm has plenty of drama to watch right at home: illicit courtships, his mother’s repressed desire to pursue her art, and his father’s crisis of faith when he becomes disillusioned with the Nasser regime’s failure to live up to its ideals. Fawzi’s occasionally explicit film is a hilarious and tender family portrait as well as a refined critique of rigid religiosity. In Arabic with English subtitles. Oussama Fawzi was born in Cairo in 1961.
Post-screening discussion with director Oussama Fawzi and leading actress Leila Alawi.
Saturday 12 November 2005 at 6:30 p.m.
Director: Kamal Tabrizi (born 1959)
Iran 2004, 110 min., 35mm
Now banned in Iran by clerics disgruntled by its impious slapstick, The Lizard has nonetheless become a smash hit (reformist President Muhammad Khatami allegedly arranged a private screening). In a brilliant comic set-up, a petty thief escapes prison by disguising himself as a mullah. Inevitably, he’s forced undercover for longer than expected and, while struggling with his unwieldy new wardrobe, finds himself becoming the revered leader of a small-town mosque. The result is a smart, sincere comment on contemporary Iran: biting and sardonic, but also surprisingly religious. In Farsi with English Subtitles.
Post-screening discussion with Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University)
Saturday 19 November 2005 at 6:30 p.m.