The new digital and social media to discover Arabia and the Middle East. Offbeat. Innovative.

Coronavirus: 5 movies to enjoy by yourself amid the social distancing.

It was almost fun at first, vegetating on the couch on a Monday morning, or working in a bathrobe, but after 3 days of confinement, you may (as we are) start to ponder how you will brave the impending weekend. Do not fret, KAWA has selected 5 films for you to discover or rediscover, to broaden your culture without leaving your home. 

Papicha, by Mounia Meddour (2019) 

Situated in Algiers during the 1990s, Nedjma, 18, a student living in her university campus, dreams of becoming a stylist. At nightfall, she sneaks through the wires of the city’s fence alongside her best friends, to reach a nightclub in which she sells her creations to “papichas,” a term used to refer to young, attractive Algerian girls. In juxtaposition to the country’s political and social degradation, the film paints a colourful and emotional societal fresco, regarding the role of women within Algerian society, particularly in its disadvantaged communities. 

 

 

Born a King, by Agustí Villaronga (2019)

In 1919, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the young (future King of Saudi Arabia) Faisal was sent by his father, Emir Abdulaziz, on a diplomatic mission to London to ensure the shaping of what was to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At only 14 years old, he will have the heavy burden of negotiating the future of his country and his family with seasoned politicians such as Winston Churchill and Lord Curzon. 

 

 

Of Sheep and Men, by Karim Sayad (2017)

In a popular district of Algiers, the 16-year-old Habib yearns of becoming a veterinarian as he prepares his new ram for the prestigious sheep fights in the neighborhood. Samir, who is older and wiser, finds contentment and financial gain in trading fighting animals in the country’s capital. Through a blend of hope and fate, the Algerian director Karim Sayad narrates the tender coming of age process, leaving childhood for adulthood and the complexity of masculinity permeating his country.

 

 

Caramel, by Nadine Labaki (2007) 

Taking place in Beirut, five women congregate regularly in a beauty salon, a colourful microcosm where several generations meet, talk and confide in one another. Beyond each other’s personal stories, it is above all an ode to female solidarity, brilliantly directed by Nadine Labaki, for her first film. 

 

 

Bilal: A New Breed of Hero, by Ayman Jamal and Khurram Alavi (2015)

To top off this list, this animated feature film by Norwegian director Mats Goroud is ideal for the entire family. The story takes place 1000 years ago, starting with a child who dreams of becoming a great warrior. He is sent far from home with his sister, where he is confronted with the harshness and corruption of the world. He must show courage and determination to conquer his true destiny.