Monday, 27 December 2010

Jordanian film explores cultural estrangement, fundamentalism and changing Arab society

The young Jordanian film industry received a boost after Mohammad Hushki ‘s feature film Transit Cities  ((مدن ترانزيت won best feature film and the special jury prize at the seventh Dubai International Film Festival (Dec 12-19 2010).

The film tells of a young woman’s return to Jordan after her 14 year marriage in the US ends in divorce. The liberally minded woman, Leila, returns only to find the Amman she grew up in has vastly changed. Her family were once open-minded but have become more conservative over the years like much of the city, and Leila has difficulties restoring her relationship with her family.

The film was funded by the Royal Jordanian Film Commission and looks at how the country has changed socially and politically over the last decade or so. Leila finds herself caught between two worlds in one city- the liberal wealthy urbanites living western lifestyles, and a growing religiously conservative middle class on the other side of the city.

I hope the film gets decent distribution so that we can get hold of it in Europe and the US. The trailer looks excellent and the subtitling seems top notch. The awards from the Dubai Film Festival should ensure that the film reaches at least a wider Arab audience. Jordan is not readily associated with the film industry but this and other contributions should help it establish itself alongside its Egyptian and Lebanese counterparts. 

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