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Middle East challenge; Official, June 2016
Topic Started: May 30 2016, 06:35:03 PM (1,175 Views)
3eyes
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Goal: Watch as many films from Middle Eastern countries as you can.

Rules:
- Feature film (over 40 minutes) counts as one entry.
- 60 minutes of short films count as one entry.
- The miniseries rule applies. [can someone refresh my memory about that?]
- Rewatches are allowed.

List of elegible countries

To show what's where, treadwaynathan provided this map:

Posted Image

Official lists:

https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/diffs+the+100+greatest+arab+films/
Eligible countries: Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates

https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/asian+cinema+a+field+guide/
Iran (574-632), The Middle East (801–832 [mostly Israel]), Turkey (833-843)

https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/unescos+memory+of+the+world+national+cinematic+heritage/
Egypt (215-229), Israel (375-389), Lebanon (451-475)

https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/film+magazines+best+iranian+films+2009/ (official)
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/ekolay.nets+best+turkish+films/ (official)

Unofficial lists:

Egypt
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/most+important+100+egyptian+films/peacefulanarchy/
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/al+ahrams+15+best+egyptian+films+of+all+time/mjf314/
https://mubi.com/lists/notable-egyptian-films
https://mubi.com/lists/egyptian-cinema-retrospective-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%87%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%81%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9

Iran
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/iranian+cinema/timec/
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/film+magazines+best+iranian+films+of+the+last+three+decades+2008/mjf314/
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/directory+of+world+cinema+iran/peacefulanarchy/
https://mubi.com/lists/landmarks-of-the-iranian-new-wave-and-their-predecessors
There are quite a few more ICM personal lists under "Iranian". Also, Timec provided these:

Iranian directors' filmographies

Israel
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/maarivs+best+israeli+films+of+all+time/gershwin/
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/israeli+film+a+reference+guide/timec/
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/list+of+israeli+submissions+for+the+academy+award+for+best+foreign+language+film/roi/

Turkey
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/top+100+turkish+movies+by+sinema+magazine/sulism/
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/directory+of+world+cinema+turkey/peacefulanarchy/
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/the+space+between+a+panorama+of+cinema+in+turkey/gershwin/
https://mubi.com/lists/cinema-of-turkey
https://mubi.com/lists/turkey
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/nuri+bilge+ceylan+filmography/bal3x/

3eyes' list of Kurdish directors


Participants: tally as of 7/1:
alisoncm - 2
Ataraxic - 19
Cinephage - 3
Knaldskalle
Mario Gaborović - 5
max-scl - 1
Melvelet 3
Timec 2
treadwaynathan - 11
3eyes - 20
Edited by 3eyes, Jul 1 2016, 01:32:30 PM.
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Melvelet
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À la recherche du temps perdu...
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Mostly in for some Iranian ones. Thnking about the past few weeks I might not watch many films this month :/
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Knaldskalle
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Eh, why not. I have some countries to "conquer" from that region.
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3eyes
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Knaldskalle
May 31 2016, 01:53:29 AM
Eh, why not. I have some countries to "conquer" from that region.
Oh goody. I just found Za'er /Visitor (Bahrain) on KG with subs.
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allisoncm
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Melvelet
May 30 2016, 10:06:41 PM
Mostly in for some Iranian ones. Thnking about the past few weeks I might not watch many films this month :/
Some Iranian ones I recommend (which are pretty obscure even among the Iranians I've talked to about them): Boutique and Hemlock.

I'm in. I will focus on the lists I haven't reached Bronze on yet (Unesco, DIFF, Asian, Turkish).
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Timec
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I doubt I’ll end up watching very many this month, but I do have a few Turkish and Iranian films in my queue. Maybe this will give me the extra motivation to actually watch some of them.
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Nathan Treadway
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I'm definitely in!

Would this work for a map?
Posted Image

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3eyes
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Thanks, Nathan. Doesn't show the limits but at least it shows where everything is, even Bahrain. I'm afraid I'm rather dim when it comes to copying images, so I'll just refer to your post for now.

@Timec, I put your filmographies in too.
Edited by 3eyes, May 31 2016, 07:21:50 PM.
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Nathan Treadway
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3eyes
May 31 2016, 06:53:16 PM
Thanks, Nathan. Doesn't show the limits but at least it shows where everything is, even Bahrain. I'm afraid I'm rather dim when it comes to copying images, so I'll just refer to your post for now.

@Timec, I put your filmographies in too.
Easiest way is to quote my post, and copy the link between the img tags and put it between img tags in your initial post.
Edited by Nathan Treadway, May 31 2016, 07:58:02 PM.
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3eyes
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Thanks, Nathan!
Edited by 3eyes, May 31 2016, 08:25:37 PM.
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Nathan Treadway
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3eyes
May 31 2016, 08:21:17 PM
Thanks, Nathan!
;)
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3eyes
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1. Za'er / Visitor (Bahrain 04)
A horror movie / ghost story. Comes heartily recommended by the Bahraini mafia. The plot is full of holes but the cemetery is, well, different.

Edited by 3eyes, Jun 1 2016, 11:48:19 AM.
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3eyes
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2. Bekas (Sweden/Iraq 12, Karzan Kader)
Two orphaned Iraqi Kurdish brothers decide to go to America (which they think is a few days' journey) and ask Superman to kill Saddam Hussein. Whatever grimness lies in store for them, it doesn't happen in the film, which is quite funny. The director is an Iraqi Kurd now living in Sweden. On youtube with English subs.
Edited by 3eyes, Jun 2 2016, 01:34:45 PM.
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Mario Gaborović
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Count me in.

1. Ani Ohev Otach Rosa (Moshé Mizrahi, 1972) - 6/10
2. Me'Ahorei Hasoragim (Uri Barbash, 1984) - 6/10

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Nathan Treadway
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1. Mivtsa Yonatan (Operation Thunderbolt) Israel. 6/10. Run of the mill high-jacking thriller. Nothing really spectacular. (Made by the same guy who did Chuck Norris' Delta Force. Reminded me tremendously of it.)
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3eyes
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3. Ejareh-Nesheenha/The lodgers/ The tenants (Iran 86)
Rather frenetic comedy by Dariush Mehrjui (The cow).

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3eyes
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4. Theeb (UAE/Jordan 14)
I guess this could have gone in the Western challenge - it's a Middle-eastern with a Bedouin child as protagonist. Set during WW I.

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Ataraxic
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1. Omar (Hany Abu-Assad, Palestine, 2013) - 7/10
2. Et maintenant on va où? / Where Do We Go Now? (Nadine Labaki, Lebanon, 2011) - 6/10
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3eyes
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5. Kis uykusu / Winter sleep (Turkey 14)
Excruciating - which is not a negative comment.

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Knaldskalle
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3eyes
Jun 5 2016, 01:39:48 AM
5. Kis uykusu / Winter sleep (Turkey 14)
Excruciating - which is not a negative comment.

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I've yet to see Winter Sleep, but both "Distant" and "Once Upon A Time in Anatolia" were excellent movies. Nuri Bilge Ceylan is definitely a worthwhile director.
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max-scl
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1. Mustang (2015)
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Nathan Treadway
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3eyes
Jun 4 2016, 02:03:37 AM
4. Theeb (UAE/Jordan 14)
I guess this could have gone in the Western challenge - it's a Middle-eastern with a Bedouin child as protagonist. Set during WW I.

What was your opinion on this? I have it on my queue for this month (if I get it from the library fast enough.)
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3eyes
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treadwaynathan
Jun 5 2016, 08:36:16 AM
3eyes
Jun 4 2016, 02:03:37 AM
4. Theeb (UAE/Jordan 14)
I guess this could have gone in the Western challenge - it's a Middle-eastern with a Bedouin child as protagonist. Set during WW I.

What was your opinion on this? I have it on my queue for this month (if I get it from the library fast enough.)
I liked it very much. Kept me riveted.
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Mario Gaborović
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3. Sallah Shabati (Ephraim Kishon, 1964) - 6/10
4. Urs al-jalil (Michel Khleifi, 1988) - 6.5/10

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Edited by Mario Gaborović, Jun 5 2016, 10:17:46 PM.
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3eyes
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6. Taxi (Iran 15)
Another of Panahi's non-films, delightful. Rated NC-17 for talking on cellphone while driving.

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Mario Gaborović
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5. Za'er (Bassam Al-Thawadi, 2004) - 4/10

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Edited by Mario Gaborović, Jun 6 2016, 01:31:00 PM.
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Ataraxic
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3. The Return to Homs (Talal Derki, Syria, 2013) - 6/10 - A soccer player and his friends join the fight in defending their hometown from Assad forces during the Syrian Civil War and then later revisit the town after the battle has destroyed it. This reminded me a bit of The Square about the Egyptian uprising which I enjoyed more.

4. Ha-Bayit Berechov Chelouche / The House on Chelouche Street (Moshé Mizrahi, Israel, 1973) - 8/10 - My introduction to Sephardic Jews (in this case from Egypt) and the life of a family in Tel Aviv after the creation of the state of Israel. The mother is widowed and wanting to remarry (The Egyptian or the German?) while her oldest son is coming of age and meets an older girl who helps him out with the process.

5. The Time That Remains (Elia Suleiman, Palestine, 2009) - 7/10 - Spans several different time periods in Nazareth after becoming part of Israel and shows the changes and conflicts that have occurred there from the viewpoint of one family (the director's). Lots of dry humor and nicely composed shots.

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3eyes
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7. Yek Etefagh sadeh/A simple event (Iran 74)
Quite astonishing in its simplicity - the routine of a poor boy's life, little dialogue, little affect, but very affecting.

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3eyes
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8. Et maintenant on va où? / Where do we go now? (Fr/Leb 11)
Feminist pacifist dramedy set in a Lebanese village. Well, I dunno.

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cinephage
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I'll join in for a few watches...

01. Kasaba, by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (1997) 6/10

Beautiful cinematography, but I found the film quite boring. Except for Winter Sleep, I often have that issue with Ceylan's cinema...
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Nathan Treadway
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2. The Message The dvd that I got from the library also had the Arabic version of the film as well, and I was looking forward to watching it, too. For some stupid reason, the producers of the DVD decided that subtitles would be pointless! GAH! (The Arabic version is an official check as well...)

3. Lion in the Desert
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3eyes
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treadwaynathan
Jun 8 2016, 09:20:54 PM
2. The Message The dvd that I got from the library also had the Arabic version of the film as well, and I was looking forward to watching it, too. For some stupid reason, the producers of the DVD decided that subtitles would be pointless! GAH! (The Arabic version is an official check as well...)

Yeah, both are on The Story of Film; the Arabic version (Al-risâlah) is on DIFF while the English version is on Tim Dirks. Both were shot simultaneously, scene by scene done twice with different casts. Shall we say that either version counts for both? What do people think? Guess I'd better ask the denizens of the Film Lounge or --?
Edited by 3eyes, Jun 8 2016, 10:08:43 PM.
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3eyes
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9. Al-Boom (Oman 06)
Fishing village threatened by evil corporate developers.

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Ataraxic
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6. Esther (Amos Gitai, Israel, 1986) - 6/10 - Version of the biblical story of Esther with some clever use of anachronism and narration but also had a low budget "filmed theater" feel to it
7. Gabbeh (Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Iran, 1996) - 6/10 - Pretty colors with all the clothing and gabbehs (rugs) but I was also a little bored
8. Berlin-Yerushalaim (Amos Gitai, Israel, 1989) - 5/10 - Two parallel stories of Jews in the 1920's, one about a poet in Berlin and the other centered on a Kibbutz (co-op). I do like the experimental style of the director and have a few more of his films to watch. Hopefully I find at least one I really like.
9. Iklimler / Cimates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey, 2006) - 8/10 - Thumbs up. I love the sound of crackling cigarettes.


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Edited by Ataraxic, Jun 9 2016, 03:07:15 PM.
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3eyes
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10. The time that remains (Internat’l 09 [Palestine])
[Exhausting day, too tired to comment]

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Nathan Treadway
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4. Uzak (Turkey)
5. Offside (Iran)
6. Song of Sparrows (Iran) Aaahh.. Majid Majidi. Let's get this on some lists! (Still eligible for 500<400!)
Edited by Nathan Treadway, Jun 12 2016, 07:42:33 AM.
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Mario Gaborović
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treadwaynathan
Jun 8 2016, 09:20:54 PM
3. Lion in the Desert
Lion in the Desert is a Libyan film.
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3eyes
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11. My Sweet Pepper Land (Iraq 13)
Mideastern set in Iraqi Kurdish village on Turkish border post-Saddam. Freedom-fighter-turned-sheriff and schoolmistress vs corrupt local boss.

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Mario Gaborović
Jun 12 2016, 10:19:25 AM
treadwaynathan
Jun 8 2016, 09:20:54 PM
3. Lion in the Desert
Lion in the Desert is a Libyan film.
Fair enough.. I included it because it's on the Arab list, and I didn't research it out. So, that puts me at 5.
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Ataraxic
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10. Yadon ilaheyya / Divine Intervention (Elia Suleiman, Palestine, 2002) - 8/10 - Fun movie about a couple living on opposites sides of the Israeli/Palestinian border and their attempts to circumvent the checkpoints. Some random/surreal scenes are what make it interesting.

11. Naissance d'un Golem / Birth of a Golem (Amos Gitai, Israel, 1991) - 2/10 - I wondered if this would be as bad as the IMDB rating and it was. Novelty points for having Annie Lennox as a golem but reading about the golem stories was much more interesting than the film. A lot of the scenes had images overlayed on each other and it was just not that fun to watch. Luckily it was only an hour long.

12. Hearat Shulayim / Footnote (Joseph Cedar, Israel, 2011) - 7/10 - Best foreign picture nominee about the rivalry between a father and son. They both are scholars of the Talmud but each have their own approach and a problem comes up that puts an even bigger strain on their relationship. It sort of plays out like a mystery and was more entertaining than expected.

13. Dakhtaran-e khorshid / Daughters of the Sun (Maryam Shahriar, Iran, 2000) - 6/10 - The tagline calls it an Iranian Boys Don't Cry but in this case the abuse comes from an exploitative boss. A girl's father shaves her head and sends her as a boy to work as an apprentice weaver. She meets another girl there and they turn to each other for love and possibly marriage. One thing I didn't understand was why the girl needed to pretend she was a boy since all the other weavers were girls. I must have missed something there.

14. Takhté siah / Blackboards (Samira Makhmalbaf, Iran / Kurdistan, 2000) - 8/10 - Teachers along the Iran/Iraq border carry their blackboards with them and try to find students among the Kurdish nomads. One group was trying to return to Iraq and another was carrying contraband. This felt really authentic although I assume it was fictional. It was interesting to me that they were using walnuts as food, currency, and even entertainment with a marbles-like game.

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Edited by Ataraxic, Jun 15 2016, 10:47:45 PM.
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