Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Filmfest DC 2000: 14th Annual Washington, DC International Film Festival

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Filmfest DC 2000: 14th Annual Washington, DC International Film Festival

Article excerpt

FILMFEST DC 2000: 14TH ANNUAL WASHINGTON, DC INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Filmfest DC's annual international film festival April 5-16 included more than a hundred features, documentaries, short films, and kids' programs. The festival highlights included special programs, such as CineCafes, an in-depth film viewing experience allowing the audience to meet with directors, critics, and scholars to share views and exchange questions and answers. Also included in the festival were the directors' roundtable and panel discussions including filmmakers, critics and others discussing the production and distribution of films.

New Turkish cinema was highlighted in this year's festival. Unlike Hollywood fare, driven primarily by star recognition and special effects, international cinema, including the cinema of Turkey, focuses on relationships, character depth and story. Yesim Ustaoglu's "Gunese Yolculuk" (Journey to the Sun), with Kurdish and Turkish soundtrack and English subtitles, the winner of multiple awards from festivals in Berlin, Sao Paolo and elsewhere, made its debut showing in North America at this festival. Ustaoglu's feature is a story of contrasts as Turkey is divided by political tension, so the film is split into two distinct parts. It starts out as a tough urban buddy movie and ends up a deep travelogue back to the roots of the country. The characters' fear of the future and their desperate attempts to comprehend the situation provided the subtext to the plot.

In addition, the festival included other Middle Eastern films. From Egypt, director Atef Hetata's "Al Abwab Al Moghlaka" (The Closed Doors), with Arabic soundtrack and English subtitles, deals with the taboo in contemporary Egyptian society and its social and political aspects. Set at the time of the Gulf crisis, it tells the story of a boy who is strongly influenced by his close surroundings. …

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