Posted by on October 29, 2010 in Blog

The fifteenth annual Arabian Sights Film Festival, which opened last week and hosts a variety of modern films from around the Arab world, is a highly anticipated event in Washington, DC.

Friday, October 22, was the opening of City of Life, Ali Mostafa’s first feature film produced and set in Dubai. In town for the premiere of the film, Mostafa appeared on Viewpoint with James Zogby to discuss his film. 

City of Life follows the lives of three characters: a privileged Emirati named Faisal and his street-wise friend Khalfan, a credulous Romanian stewardess, and an Indian taxi driver who aspires to be a Bollywood movie star. The film’s highly original plot ends with an unexpected collision among the lives of the characters. The film is in Arabic, Hindi and English –with subtitles. Online tickets to City of Life were sold out several days in advance, and tickets at the door sold out hours before the film debuted.

Director Ali Mostafa was there to introduce his film, and held a Q&A session after. Yassin Alsalman (aka The Narcicyst) who plays Khalfan in the film was also scheduled to appear with Mostafa but, according to Mostafa, was detained by customs and missed his flight. Alsalman’s film Phatwa: Stuck Between Iraq and a Hard Place, which is also playing at the Festival, is a documentary of his Hip-Hop career and the challenges he faces as an Arab. Notably, the film depicts the struggles Arabs frequently face at airports, and the irony of his absence, as Mostafa noted, further emphasizes the struggle Arabs encounter when traveling after 9/11.

This weekend is the last opportunity to experience the Arabian Sights Film festival, held at the Goethe-Institut Washington. For the film schedule and synopses, click here.