Two awaited debut features by prominent short film-makers - Palestinian Najwa Najjar’s “Pomegranates and Myrrh” and Moroccan Mohamed Chrif Tribak’s “Le temps des camarades” - are included in the San Sebastian Festival’s prestigious Cinema in Motion lineup, which unspools all-day Monday.
Breaking through to recognition with medium-feature “Yasmine’s Song,” which screened at Berlin, Najjar brings “Pomegranates,” “the story of a Palestinian dancer Palestinian female dancer trying to fulfill her dreams in a conservative society,” she says.
The star-crossed lovers tale is set in a ravaged contempo Palestine, toplining Hiam Abbas and Ali Suleiman from “Paradise Now.” “Pomengrantes” drew down Palestinian financing, a rare coup.
“Camarades,” a painstakingly documented dramedy set in the early ‘90s about Morocco’s last politicised generation of students, follows on Chrif Tribak’s celebrated docu short “El Balcon Atlantico,” directed with Hicham Falah.
The film, like much would-be transition cinema, bears inevitable reflections on contempo Morocco.
A singular documentary, “Chou Sar?” tracks cineaste De Gaulle Eid returning to North Lebanon’s Edbal, where his family was massacred in 1980.
Eid’s mission’s to find out what really happened to his family. What’s shocking is not only eye-witness descriptions, but that their explanations - a neighboring village vengeance, para-military slaughter - depend so much on who they are. Investigatng the past, Eid draws a resonant potrait of a country still divided in the present. The only certainty, as the film’s finale suggests, is that his family are dead.
Rounding up Cinema in Motion is the Morocco-Italy-set Moroccan brothers drama “Tu te souviens d’Adil?” from Morocco’s Mohamed Zineddaine (“Awakening”). One brother immigrates to Italy, lured by the “European Dream.” Yet Italy, proves far different from his dreams.
Organized by the San Sebastian, Amiens and Fribourg festivals, Cinema in Motion, now in its fourth edition, has quickly consolidated as one of the jewels in San Sebastian’s industry crown.
Offering sneak peeks of films from the Maghreb, Mideast and Portuguesespeaking Africa seeking completion finance, Motion attracts films which often go on to find major fest bearths, sales agents and sales, such as last year’s Sundance player “Recycle,” and “Je veux voir” and “Salt of This Sea,” both selected for Cannes.
Films also secure completion finance. A litany of companies back the initiative with post-prod coin: Fribourg and Amiens, France’s CNC, Mactari mixing auditorium, Mikros Image, Swiss Effects and Kodak Suisse, Titra subtitling.
Chosen film-makers can also participate in a Cinema in Motion tour of Latin America and exhibitions organized at Cervantes Institutes in the Arab world.