Category: Uncategorized

Pietra Brettkelly, New Zealand, 2015, not rated, 91 mins

The fourth feature-length offering from New Zealand documentary filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly is her most ambitious project yet. A Flickering Truth follows charismatic filmmaker Ibrahim Arify as he returns from exile to his native Afghanistan with the intention of restoring thousands of hours of Afghan films for the nation.
Film was outlawed by the Taliban government, and although they have now been deposed their threat remains, particularly in the continuing suicide bombings in Kabul. Arify’s task is not easy and his frustration is immediately felt as he struggles to unearth reels of film – some literally dug out of collapsing barns, and others hidden in ceilings and discovered by pure chance. He must also deal with a workforce often too scared to act after so many years of oppression.
As the project slowly comes to fruition, the importance of his work hits home: a collection of newly restored films is toured around the country, and rows and rows of spellbound faces – many seeing film for the first time – experience their own country’s rich artistic culture and history.

Naji Abu Nowar, Jordan/Qatar/UAE/UK, 2015, M, 100 mins

Set in 1916, this suspenseful, historically freighted Jordanian film concerns a watchful young Bedouin boy obliged to guide a British army officer on a perilous journey through the eye-searing landscape of Wadi Rum. British-Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar calls it a ‘Bedouin western’, and his knowledge and understanding of these nomadic tribespeople informs Theeb from beginning to end.

Theeb screened at last year’s New Zealand International Film Festival and was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

“Nowar, a smart, savvy filmmaker, keeps his focus narrow and the frame alert, eager to drink in not only action but nuances of culture and history. The civilized Englishman deigning to rescue primitive locals, the swarthy Arab conspiring only to swindle and kill: Theeb calls up the stereotypes of the desert epic only to flatly undermine them.” – Village Voice

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