18th Brussels Mediterranean Cinema Festival opens today

Friday, 30 November 2018 13:05
The 18th Brussels Mediterranean Cinema Festival is taking place from 30 November to 7 December.
Festival locations will mainly be the Le Botanique cultural centre and the Aventure Cinema as well as BOZAR (the fine arts and cultural museum) and the Palace cinema. The youth in the Mediterranean will particularly be showcased this year.

Around sixty films from around the Mediterranean will be on offer. Amongst them, eight films are nominated in international competitions for various prizes. These include the Cinema Grand Prix (a French cinema festival), the Prix du Jury Jeune (the French international comedy prize), the Prix Cineuropa (French international cinema festival), le Prix de la Critique (awarded by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics) and the Prix du Public (European film awards).

On offer this year there will be seven pre-screenings of films being released in the weeks to come in Belgian cinemas.

At the opening of the festival, the pre-screening of the film “Carmen & Lola” by the producer Arantxa Echevarría will take viewers into a gypsy community in a suburb of Madrid. We find a girl Carmen living there, who sees herself destined, as is tradition, to get married and bring up numerous children - that is until the day she encounters Lola, a gypsy who dreams of going to university and who is attracted to girls.

The festival closes with “Tel Aviv On Fire” directed by Sameh Zoabi, which dares to convey lightness and humour within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when an actor is stopped at a checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

About twenty films shed particular light on the life of youngsters in the Mediterranean, by approaching themes such as homosexuality, dropping out of school, integration within society and even the employment market. With “Amal”, Mohamed Siam shows for example the development in a post-revolution Egypt of a teenage insurgent girl, seeking her place in a male-dominated society.

A Focus on Morocco, when paying tribute to Moroccan cultural productions made by Wallonia Brussels International, offers amongst other productions the chance discover the film “Sofia” directed by Meryem Benm'Barek-Aloïsi. The film recounts the denial of pregnancy of a young women aged 20, plunged into a world of illegality by giving birth to a baby outside marriage. Jawad Rhalib questions Islamist fascism, and its relationship with artists of all kinds, in his documentary film “When Arabs Danced”.

Solidarity with migrants is also placed in the cinema spotlight with notably “To the Four Winds”, directed by Michel Toesca, which follows the French farmer Cédric Herroux in his journey involving citizen resistance for welcoming refugees. So too does “The Land of Calabria” (“Un Paesa di Calabria”) directed by Shu Aiello and Catherine Catella, in which Kurdish migrants who end up on a beach in Southern Italy restore abandoned houses and shops, together with the residents of the village.

With 14 films scheduled, Belgium’s Med offers a reflection of the Mediterranean in Belgian cinema.

The Panorama section provides access to a range of independent or low-budget films.

Lars Andersen
The Brussels Times
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