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The Inaugural Dublin Arabic Film Festival

Dubai film festival

Golden Globe nominated Monsieur Ibrahim

The inaugural Dublin Arabic Film Festival (DAFF) (8 – 11 of May), which is sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, will open with a special screening of its guest of honour Omar Sharif’s critically-acclaimed role in the Golden Globe nominated Monsieur Ibrahim (2003) on Thursday the 8th of May at Lighthouse Cinema.

The acting legend, whose films included the classics Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl, will introduce the film directed by Francois Dupeyron. The film tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a teenage boy and an elderly grocery store owner, played by Sharif himself.

Chicago Tribune’s movie critic Michael Wilmington described Monsieur Ibrahim as “one of the most touching film incarnations on view” applauding Sharif’s performance as “a casting masterstroke.”

According to Wilmington, “it’s one of the finest performances of his entire career and one of the Sharif roles that we’ll most remember and treasure.”

The festival will also welcome Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad as a special guest for the screening of his Oscar-nominated film Omar on its closing night on May 11.

A political thriller and love story set in the Palestinian territories, the film earned Abu-Assad his second Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards this year. The film won a jury prize at Cannes and was selected to show at the Toronto and New York film festivals.

In her review of Omar, Huffington Post’s E. Nina Rothe enthused: “It is said that a great film should make you walk out of the cinema feeling like a better person. But with his latest oeuvre Omar, Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad made me want to be a better person.”

Filmmaker Jim Sheridan, president of DAFF, commented that the launch of the festival coincides with “the first really good year for Arab cinema worldwide,” with three Arab films nominated in separate categories at this year’s Academy Awards.

“I think we’re coming in at the right time. It’s not a political thing, they’re just the best films out there,” Sheridan added.

The festival will also include viewings of other Arabic films of note at the Lighthouse Cinema over the weekend as well as viewings of Laurence of Arabia and The Yacoubian Building at the Chester Beatty Library.

Other guests of honour attending the festival are Egyptian director, Ahmad Abdallah and Moroccan film and television director Nabil Ayouch who has represented his home country at the Oscars with his movies Mektoub and Ali Zaoua. Also in attendance will be Dr. Jim Swire who tragically lost his daughter in the Lockerbie bombing and has spent more than 25 years fighting to unearth the truth behind the disaster.