Arab Film Festival

Last week was the Arab Film Festival in Amman, so each day a different film was shown. Most of them were documentaries or films that addressed political issues in the Middle East that had been regionally recognized or won various awards. The event was free, so of course we went, especially since the setting was outside with a gorgeous view of the city and everything was in Arabic (great chance to practice!).

We went one of the nights to a film called “In the Sands of Babylon”, which was about the Gulf War. The film, in my opinion, was beautiful and the director cleverly captured a collective narrative of many Iraqi soldiers by weaving their stories through a narrative of a fictional character.

After the film, we heard from the director (he was present) and the audience had time to ask him questions or give their opinions on the film. Many in the audience praised him, but there were also many passionate people who criticized the film for various reasons (such as ignoring other parts of the war or not discussing the problems Iraq faces today). I found this so interesting, because in the US, there would be many people criticizing the movie, but the people here were so much more passionate, because the Gulf War has affected everyone in the region. Many people who spoke were from Iraq or had family from Iraq or knew people who had died in the war. The issue, then, became personal and people were speaking from personal experiences.

Overall, the whole experience was extremely moving and I was able to see another side of the Gulf War than what one sees in the US.

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