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5 great classics of Arab cinema to watch urgently

Got free time ahead? Take the opportunity to enrich your movie culture by immersing yourself in the great classics of Arab cinema. From “West Beirut” to “Until The Birds Return”, discover our favourites of the 7th art.

1. West Beirut

Released in 1998, this film by Ziad Doueiri was a worldwide success. And for good reason, the feature film has won many awards, including the  International Critics Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. The story takes place in 1975 in a Lebanon ravaged by civil war. In this difficult context, two teenagers are looking to make a film. At first carefree, young men are quickly caught up in violence.

2. The Sin

Based on a novel of the same title, The Sin is an Egyptian film released in 1965. Directed by Henry Barakat, the main character of this drama is Aziza, a poor peasant woman working in the potato harvest. While alone, Aziza is attacked by a guard. The film, presented in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, denounces the working conditions of the rural environment of the time.

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3. The Last Night

Extrait - The Last night

The Last Night (1965)

As a psychological thriller released in 1964, The Last Night keeps us on our toes for two hours. A woman (actress Faten Hamama) wakes up one morning and finds herself married to her brother-in-law. She also realizes that she is 15 years older… H this jump into the future? And what should she find out? This film directed by Kamal El Sheikh delivers an intense suspense.

4. Bab’Aziz – The Prince That Contemplated His Soul

Bab Aziz

Bab’Aziz – The Prince That Contemplated His Soul (2005)

Tunisian director Nacer Khémir completes his Desert trilogy with the film The Prince That Contemplated His Soul. Released in 2005, the latter tells the story of the desert crossing of a blind dervish named Bab’Aziz and his granddaughter Ishtar. Together, they try to join a spiritual meeting that only takes place every 30 years. On the way, they encounter difficulties but also connect with other characters.

5. Until The Birds Return

A divorced real estate developer, a young and future bride, a neurologist caught up in his past… In this drama released in 2017, the three protagonists see their lives shaken up and decisive choices are imposed on them. Their stories, distinct but linked by narrative, paint a portrait of contemporary Algeria. Directed by Karim Moussaoui, the film has been nominated six times at the Cannes Film Festival.

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Published on 22 January 2019