AFS Essential Cinema
Children of Abraham/Ibrahim 2: Films of the Middle East and North Africa
This month the Austin Film Society presents the sequel to one of its most provocative Essential Cinema series programs from last year. Children of Abraham/Ibrahim 2: Films of the Middle East and North Africa picks up right where last February's presentation left off, with rarely seen cinematic visions of a region rich in history and tradition but mired in misunderstanding, poverty, and war.
The series begins this Tuesday, Feb. 19, with Ismael Ferroukhi's Le Grand Voyage, a road movie about a 17-year-old secularized French Moroccan and his devout father setting out on the hajj, the Muslim holy pilgrimage to Mecca. On their drive through the former Yugoslavia, Turkey, and the Middle East – sites of some of the most horrific violence committed by and against Muslims over the last 20 years – the young man and his father come face-to-face with the gulf that separates them and their views on the role of religion, community, and culture in a rapidly modernizing world. That film will be followed on successive Tuesdays by Men at Work (Kargaran Mashghoole Karand), Iranian director Mani Haghighi's Werner Herzog-esque tale of obsession; Times and Winds (Bes Vakit), Reha Erdem's award-winning look at life in a small Turkish mountain village; and Iranian upstairs-downstairs comedy/drama Fireworks Wednesday (Chaharshanbe-Soori).
Abraham/Ibrahim 2 closes on March 25 with the jewel in its crown: Beaufort, Joseph Cedar's unblinking look at life in an Israeli military outpost during that country's controversial occupation of Lebanon. Ambitious and ambiguous, Beaufort, which won the Best Director award at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival and is nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, is the ideal ending to AFS' excellent "series within a series" about a world constantly at odds with itself and its past.
All screenings take place Tuesdays at 7pm at the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz. For more information, visit www.austinfilm.org.