Discovery, Entertainment and Humanity in Creative Docs

What do we normally look for when we watch a documentary film? Certainly to discover; the genre connects us to the real world and its truths, to uncover stories we’re unaware of, characters we haven’t met, and places we’ve never been to. But the documentary film isn’t only a mirror of its content or a journalistic article about a topic. The creative treatment of the story is what makes a documentary film an entertaining work of art, and entertainment is a main goal in any film, no matter its genre. What we look for, third, in a documentary film is humanity. The film has to tug at our heartstrings, trigger our feelings and enlighten our humanness.

Based on this criteria, I chose this group of diverse documentaries: Jordanian Mahmoud Al Massad delves into one of the facilities creating fundamentalists in the region in “Recycle”, Tunisian Kouther Ben Hania presents an amazing treatment of a social issue that perplexed the Tunisian Public in “Challat of Tunis”, Egyptian Sherif Nakhla uncovers the history of the most successful Egyptian Rock Band in “Les Petits Chats”, Lebanese Simon El Habre presents a simple story that embodies with purity the history of the Lebanese people in “One Man Village”, and French Karim Gouri discovers his Egyptian roots and poses questions about identity, family and the image of the father in “Made in Egypt”.

Ahmed Shawky - Film Critic & Programmer

01:17:14

What makes a terrorist In Zarqa, Jordan’s second largest city with close to 1,000,000 people, it is a much-debated question. Zarqa was the birthplace of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in... Show More

01:50:07

Semaan is leading a quiet life on his farm in the small village Ain el-Halazoun in the Lebanese mountains. The hamlet was completely emptied and destroyed in combats during ... Show More

Browse All Documentaries

01:41:24

Arij undertakes a journey into the past and the disastrous attempts to develop the city of Luxor. Hampered through the revolution the filmmaker realizes her inability to connect her protagonists and t... Show More

00:50:21

More than two decades after his father’s death, a European filmmaker attempts to construct a connection to the Arab father he never knew. While contemplating hand-written letters and an old audio cass... Show More

00:20:16

Mais Darwazeh lives alone. In Amman, a city of uprooted people, she creates her own identity by gathering around her table close friends, chosen ingredients, and old recipes. ... Show More

00:30:37

“Palestinian Visions” portrays Palestinian Folk Artist Ibrahim Ghannam, exhibiting his paintings that reflect largely on the daily life in Palestine before the Nakba. Ibrahim Ghannam is handicapped; h... Show More

00:51:55

In the year of 1948, Abed and his family were forced by the Israeli army to abandon their home in (Al-Walaja) village near Bethlehem and move to Dheisheh Refugee Camp. Resilient, Abed decides to go ba... Show More

01:39:33

A glassed van roams the streets of Beirut, home to a camera that explores the city behind the glass. Along the way, several people are invited to share a personal momen... Show More

01:17:14

What makes a terrorist In Zarqa, Jordan’s second largest city with close to 1,000,000 people, it is a much-debated question. Zarqa was the birthplace of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in... Show More

01:10:52

In a tribal country where the family name and status are very significant, Aisha, a 27 years old psychology graduate was abandoned by her parents at the age of months and raised in the orphanage. ... Show More

01:33:53

Saken is an observational documentary set in Jordan that follows the friendship of Ibrahim, a Palestinian fedai who was injured in Lebanon while on duty before the 1982 Israeli invasion on Lebanon, le... Show More

01:52:51

“When the bombs fell, the first thing we did was run away. It was not until later that we realized we had not looked back. We were not allowed to say goodbye to our home... Show More

01:24:04

They were young, loved adventures and had choices. In the 1960s and 70s thousands of young Lebanese left their villages and searched for a new life in the city as countless like-minded people around ... Show More

00:41:19

The “Ghadames” Oasis, is located in the South-West of the Great Jamahiriya. It was reconstructed during the Islamic Conquest with unique architecture and engineering. According to some historians, the... Show More

00:40:16

In the year 1975, director Kassem Hawal decided to make a film about the Iraqi Marches. He then wrote the script, shot the film and completed a 42 minutes documentary. The significance of this film be... Show More

01:20:17

The Arab World is a region in unrest. Today’s young generation of artists was born into conflicts who’s beginning they do not know and which seem not to end. They carry thei... Show More

00:24:18

In Kabylia, Nassim Amaouche digs with his father in the rubble of the family home bombed in 1957, searching for his father's lost childhood, or a new start between both men. ... Show More

00:34:08

A Moroccan flute player Hassan, who is roaming the streets of Utrecht, with the Arab fairytale character Shatter Hassan, which means Hassan the Smart. While the fairytale character Shatter Hassan that... Show More

00:21:35

In the case of Ahmad, Sameh Zoabi's childhood friend, Facebook doesn't measure up. This handsome 35-year-old guy is still single - quite a problematic situation in this Palestinian village of northern... Show More

00:20:01

Erige Sehiri sets off to meet her father. It seems that the Tunisian revolution and his new addiction to Facebook completely changed him, driving him away, perhaps forever. He even left his family and... Show More

01:14:00

Time has no beginning and no end, if it spins in a circle. Each point can be a start or a finish, or simply an abstract point. We can chose to begin and end, or we c... Show More

00:15:20

“Variations on One Melody” is an observational excursion into Damascus alleys depicting the harsh reality of children. Scenes of stained faces of working boys in factories and workshops, compelled... Show More

00:34:53

In 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon, as a result, the Palestinian Liberation Organization PLO, mostly fighters departed the country. Soon after, Israeli forces surrounded the Palestinian Refugee... Show More

01:32:42

His anti-racist film Ali, Fear Eats Soul (1973) gained German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder international acclaim. The protagonist, an Arab foreign worker, was played by Moroc... Show More

01:14:32

Athens, 1983. 4-year old Bashir is killed in the assassination of his father, a top PLO lieutenant. But what if the boy could come back to life, to dig through his past only to witness the dream that ... Show More

01:50:07

Semaan is leading a quiet life on his farm in the small village Ain el-Halazoun in the Lebanese mountains. The hamlet was completely emptied and destroyed in combats during ... Show More

01:01:28

This documentary tells the story of a group of ex-guerrillas (Fedayeen) who were active members in the Palestinian Revolution Movement during the different stages of the struggle against Israel. Many ... Show More

01:15:31

A poetic journey that I take to the daily lives of Palestinians in the West Bank, during which I encounter dreams and passions, hope and despair. For the first time in my life, as Palestinian citizen ... Show More

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