Now in its fourth year, the SAFAR Film Festival, held at the ICA and the Institut Francais, is the only festival in the UK solely focused on programming Arab Cinema.
This year’s SAFAR examines the enduring and symbiotic relationship of literature and film in the Arab world, presenting a rich and diverse programme of cinema from the 1960s to the present day.
The relationship between literature and cinema in the Arab world is an important one, and its history not only reflects the cultural narratives of the day but also the wider political and historical junctions taking place in the latter half of the 20th century. In the wake of colonial rule, adaptations were rife and extremely popular with audiences, and this transferal of indigenous stories from page to screen helped individual nations find their own cinematic, as well as wider cultural, identities.
SAFAR excavates this formative period in time, highlighting one of the most underexplored chapters of Arab film history, with classic adaptations from Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria, including some world premier restorations. SAFAR will also explore the myriad ways in which literature and storytelling can influence contemporary cinema – from story structure, to folklore, to autobiography – with a selection of documentaries, shorts, and features from Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Qatar, and Lebanon, all accompanied by expert Q&As.
Take a literary journey with SAFAR and immerse yourself in Arab cinema: a rich, unwieldy canon constantly defying expectation.