I Arab Focus: Live-Action I

  • 1h 33 min
  • Shorts

Rather than provide a retrospective of Arab films from the past few years, this programme – inspired by this year's region of focus at the Black Night Film Festival – is meant to provide a snapshot of some of the emerging talents and short films emerging from the area over the past year.

For someone from Western Europe, there are certain clichés that are associated with the Arab world that can be hard to shake, but while putting together this programme, I saw many of these clichés subverted. While the films presented here deal with weighty issues such as occupation, national identity and gender politics, there is also warm human drama and gentle, satirical humour.

The wonderful thing about cinema is that it opens our eyes to other places and other people, though the term 'other' can be problematic as it infers an almost unassailable divide. Aside from showcasing a small selection of talented filmmakers, these films close this divide somewhat as we experience not only the things that are culturally and politically unique but also the things that unite us.


Director: Mahdi Ali Ali


Year: 2018

Film duration: 00:16


Following a sudden disagreement, a Qatari girl runs away from her controlling father during a family day out.

Goin South

Director: Mohammed Alhamoud

Saudi Arabia

Year: 2019

Film duration: 00:14


A newlywed couple pays their first visit to the groom's hometown, a small southern Saudi village, where they will celebrate their marriage. Nervous and desperate for her in-laws' approval, the bride, Ayah, makes a daring choice, while her husband, Nader, tries to cope with the consequences. The new relationship is put to its first test.

Maradona’s Legs

Director: Firas Khoury


Year: 2019

Film duration: 00:20


During the 1990 World Cup, two young Palestinian boys are looking for “Maradona’s legs”; the last missing sticker that they need in order to complete their world cup album and win a free Atari.


Director: Samir Syriani


Year: 2019

Film duration: 00:21


A sniper, living alone on a country's border, shoots refugees attempting to cross and collects their items for survival. One day, he finds a tape of his victim's war diary and begins to listen to it.


Director: Mohammed Alhammadi

United Arab Emirates

Year: 2019

Film duration: 00:22


An young Emirati woman dreams of becoming an actress, but her dreams clash with her conservative family’s efforts to get her married.