“Contemporary Arab Cinema” opens tonight and runs through September 24! To kick off the series, here is a letter from series curator Lina Matta:
The Middle East has been going through a particularly tough summer. Bombs falling on Gaza, the ongoing war in Syria, ISIS gaining strength in Iraq and threatening to make headway into Lebanon; Egypt still finding its footing in a post Mubarak world.
Rather than the usual waterfall of pictures of friends enjoying their family vacations on the Facebook newsfeed, we were signing petitions and protesting horrors. Until a few weeks ago, one was hard pressed to post anything with a touch of levity. Much less promote a film series.
Summer reminded me, that inspite of our 360° immersion in 24/7 information, we still don’t know each other. We don’t trust one another, we think the worst of each other. It is universal. Europeans who’ve never traveled to the US, imagine this country to resemble Ferguson, Mo.
That’s why we have the movies. They pull us into their world. And for one week a year, in the idyllic hamlet of Pleasantville, ANA brings the Middle East with all its complexities, to a theater near you. Alone with the screen, one can be absorbed into another reality, and hopefully, come out of it, less ready to fall back on old stereotypes.
Don’t forget to carve out time for the post movie Q&As and the get togethers. There are a lot of guests coming in or being skyped in; and our coffee and dinner meetups are what make this experience so special. See you at the Burns!