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Middle East films take centre stage

From 4 to 9 April 2017, contemporary Middle East cinema is back in Florence for the 8th edition of the Middle East Now – the international festival of film, documentaries, contemporary art, music, meetings and events designed and organized by the Map of Creation organisation. The event will be held at the Cinema La Compagnia as the main location – a beautiful hall in the centre of town that has recently been reopened –, the Stensen Cinema, and other locations and public spaces, with a rich programme of screenings and special events.

Middle East Now 2017 will showcase 45 films that have won awards at top international festivals, including 19 short films and 39 Italian premieres, taking us through a cinematic journey that touches countries and companies in the Middle East, today more than ever at the centre of the political and international media attention. A rich array of plots, characters, themes and topical events unfolds in the latest productions from Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Israel, Libya, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco and Oman, opening a window on to the cultures and societies of these countries, with a perspective that seeks to go beyond the usual prejudices and stereotypes.

Urban lives in the Middle East show cities as a metaphor for the complexities of of this part of the world, while depicting cities as a nexus for creativity and cultural expression. The Urban Middle East theme runs throughout the programme, with exhibitions, special events and dedicated bookshop, sided by a string of talks on the culture and geopolitics of the region.

Among the special projects, the Saudi Tales of Love exhibition by Tasneem Alsultan, portrays the lives of brave women in Saudi Arabia, who are dealing with divorce procedures and complicated relationships. Great attention is given to food by Anglo-Iraqi chef Philip Juma’s project the Juma Kitchen. This rising star of Iraqi cuisine authors a weekly column on the Evening Standard, which is changing the idea that people have of Iraq’s culinary identity.