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October 3, 2023

Middle East Now 2023

In Florence, a week of immersion in Middle Eastern culture through film, art, music and food from 10 to 15 October

Middle East Now 2023 returns to Florence Oct. 10-15 at Cinema La Compagnia, Cinema Astra and other Florentine spaces with an extensive calendar of events including art, film, documentaries, meetings, music, food, encounters and cultural projects.

In a world in a perpetual state of change and transition, the theme of this 14th edition is Permanent Transitions, an invitation to reinvent our future in a shared way.

A Gaza Weekend by Basil Khalil

More than 30 premiere films, awarded at top international festivals, will be on the program. A cinematic journey that touches on all the countries of the Middle East area - Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Yemen - of which strong stories, characters and hot topics of current events are told. A program that will acquaint audiences with the cultures and societies of these countries, with a perspective that seeks to go beyond prejudices and clichés.

Baghdad on fire by Karrar Al-Azzawi

Among the films premiering: Basil Khalil's A Gaza Weekend, an irreverent comedy about a bumbling British journalist and his wife, a neurotic Israeli, who, when a virus spreads in Israel, are forced to attempt to escape to Gaza, 'the safest place in the world' to take refuge; Bye Bye Tiberias, a documentary about the extraordinary emotional journey of filmmaker Lina Soualem and her mother, the famous Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas; Alam, award-winning debut feature by director Firas Khoury; the debut documentary Q, by young Lebanese-American director Jude Chehab, winner at Tribeca and Sheffield; from Iraq another documentary, Baghdad on fire, a searing account of the hopes and dreams of Iraqi youth, who demonstrate in the streets led by a young 19-year-old woman; and, from Turkey, the thriller In the blind spot by talented director Ayse Polat.

Bye Bye Tiberias by Lina Soulaem

There will be many special screenings, with in-theater presentations and insights together with filmmakers and guests invited to Florence for the occasion.

Also new to this edition is a selection of films curated by BERLINALE PANORAMA, the historic section of the Berlin Film Festival. Among the titles are the animated film La Sirène, Eliane Raheb's Miguel's War, which between documentary, animation and archival film presents the word of a Lebanese gay man, and Death of a virgin, and the sin of not living, an impressive debut film by Lebanese director George Peter Barbari.

La Sirène, Miguel’s War by Eliane Raheb

This edition's events include Landing: the exhibition by Palestinian photographer and skater Maen Hammad at the Museo Novecento from Oct. 14 to Nov. 29.

Maen Hammad at Museo Novecento

Special Guest Food: Saghar Setareh, with the presentation of the book Pomegranates & Artichokes: A Food Journey from Iran to Italy and a cooking class.

For the full program and to purchase tickets, click here.

Also don't miss the program of selected online screenings in the Più Compagnia virtual room in partnership with MyMovies.

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