Ismael Ferroukhi at AFD

Free Men, Black Gold and The Beginning are all taking on the Arabian culture in a historical perspective, and tell stories we seldom hear.

Ferroukhi was born in Kenitra in Morocco, and received outstanding critiques for his debut film Le Grand Voyage from 2004. Free Men is a gripping and intense Algerian thriller unfolding in Paris during World War II, where Muslims in the Grand Mosquée de Paris saved hundreds of Jews by giving them false identification papers stating that they were Muslims.

With Free Men, Ferroukhi tells a story that is unfamiliar to the majority of us, and shows that compassion and culture is more important than religious differences. You have the opportunity to meet him during Arabian Filmdays.

Black Gold

Black Gold I a stark reminder of the Arab Spring, even though the action takes place in the 1930’s. The team behind the film started shooting in Tunisia when president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled from the country. The production was moved to Qatar thus, along the events in Tunisia, affecting the film dramatically.

Black Gold shows the crucial point when the Arabian Peninsula met capitalistic power following oil discoveries. The film tells the story of two powerful rivals who bring their people on the brink of war when they find oil reserves in no man’s land between their territories. The film includes an entertaining story, great action scenes, political intrigues and beautiful cinematography of Qatar and Tunisia’s deserts. Black Gold gives us reflections about the problems the Arabian region is facing in our time, and shows the youth’s fight against the oppressive forces in power.

An Egyptian classic

The Beginning is an Egyptian classic from 1986, and is regarded as one of Egypt’s best films of all times. This masterpiece of a political satire starts with a plane crash, where only a few passengers survive. The survivors find themselves in an isolated oasis, with no rescuing plan, and with limited provisions. The businessman Nabih, takes advantage of the situation, and demands ownership of the oasis. His hunger for power increases, resulting in him proclaiming to be the absolute leader of the oasis, and names it after himself. Nabih is controlling everything, and his behaviour starts to cause rebellions among his fellow survivors.

This satire gives us an insight in how societies develop, and why a repression is not always avoidable. This is a film that is current as a social analysis – and its relevance has only increased after the repressions in the Arab world these last few years.