Arts Week

Cape Cod Festival of Arab and Middle Eastern Cinema

And now for something completely different… this weekend, consider checking out the second annual Cape Cod Festival of Arab and Middle Eastern Cinema, which begins tonight with the Iranian-American film Jerry And Me at the Water’s Edge Cinema and continues on Friday and Saturday with five films from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt.

In Where The Desert Meets The Dunes in this week’s Provincetown Magazine, I explore the reasons curator Rebecca Alvin wanted to bring such a festival to a place like Cape Cod that has, admittedly, a negligible Arab population:

The weekend is meant to open eyes—and perhaps minds and hearts as well. “When the revolutionary Arab Spring kicked off, I found myself immediately wondering how filmmakers in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, and other countries in the Arab world were responding to it,” says Alvin. “This is the second year [of the festival], but in the first year the title was different. This year, I expanded it to include Middle Eastern as well as Arab cinema, because I wanted to open it up a bit.”

I’m reminded of the words of a very wise friend of mine, who says, “the problem isn’t finding what to call them; the problem is thinking of them as them.” You’ll leave these films with a better appreciation of the myriad cultures represented–and, hopefully, less of a sense of them as the Other.