Anna Lindh Foundation NL Network member, Arab Film Festival, held its 15th edition last Thursday evening. EUROCLIO trainees Rick Hoefsloot, Eva Zandonella, and Piia Lempiäinen attended the event and got to experience their first Saudi Arabian romantic comedy movie. Below is a quick review of the first screening, “Barakah meets Barakah”, written by Rick.

Arab Film Festival

The Arab Film Festival, in its first edition under its new name, but already its 15th in total, was opened with the lovely and funny ‘Barakah meets Barakah’. This Saudi production, deals with love, seemingly clashing cultures, and even class differences, in an admirable fashion. An excellent pick indeed, as the artistic director of the festival, Rosh Abdelfatah, explained how the festival tries to cover not only political and arthouse films from the Middle-East but also wants to bring films made for a broader audience. ‘Barakah meets Barakah’ seems to fulfil all these criteria with the charming enthusiasm of its main character, played by Hisham Fageeh, who overcomes all political, cultural, or social obstacles to dating in Saudi-Arabia by keeping it simple. The Arab Film Festival thus began by reminding us of the joy coming from a region that is too often negatively portrayed. But current events are never far away, as outside of the Cinerama in Rotterdam, a screen shows us images of pre-war Aleppo. Both these perspectives, indeed show the importance of the Arab Film Festival.