Along with Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek and comedian Ramy Youssef, Egyptian Hollywood actors put the spotlight on the Middle Eastern film industry. Several Arab countries have become cinematic forces as some of their films have been nominated for Oscars. Other than that, their genres are quite different from the norm and that has made them quite unique so that people crave more. In fact, they’ve gotten so good that a number of them are now available on Netflix. With the number of Arab films available, it can be difficult where to start, but rest assured, we’ve put together a list of the hottest Arab films right now, from crime and comedy to war, the thriller and even horror.
Tlamess of the best blockbuster Arab movies and there is almost nothing close. It’s described as “a gigantic puzzle, defying every imaginable rule of the classic storytelling playbook, a devilishly fashioned conundrum that has also wowed and frustrated audiences since its Cannes Directors’ Fortnight debut in May.” . He throws Abdullah Miniawy who plays a soldier who abandons his unit and runs away. He decides to camp in a cave, where he meets a pregnant woman suffering from existential boredom. Tlamess combines different themes, including the terrible impact of militarization on a person, how the pursuit of happiness is temporary, and how ridiculous it is to attach certain roles to gender. It practically goes against anything we take to be a norm and shows us how limited our perception of reality is.
2. West Beirut
West Beirut is a film that takes us through the realities of war and its aftermath. Through the eyes of two growing boys, we see how innocence is slowly being removed. The boys decide to set off on a dangerous and perilous journey through different parts of the country in search of a film for an old camera. As the plot unfolds, we see the children slowly losing their innocence in the face of survival during the Civil War. West Beirut is a Lebanese film which has been recognized internationally as one of the best Lebanese films ever produced. Although it dates back to 1998, it still shows up as a trend.
3. The cave
Waad Al-Kataeb and Edward Watts received worldwide recognition thanks to this Syrian hit, The Cave. This film garnered awards from around the world and made it to many end-of-year lists. The Cave is a tale that highlights the misdeeds of Bashar al-Assad and shows the relentless viscerality that clearly captures the crisis, the desperation of war as projected from an underground hospital in Eastern Ghouta. Keep in mind that this movie features a lot of graphic and violent scenes all of which are meant to show the audience how good life is out there.
4. Confrontation (Eshtebak)
Clash is an international comedy-drama co-produced by Mohammed Diab. This film uses an 8m police truck that holds prisoners as the main setting from start to finish. The prisoners are described as people from various social backgrounds with different political beliefs who are transferred to Cairo, Egypt. With a 7.5 rating on IMDb, Clash focuses heavily on different human characters and tries to show that we are one and the same regardless of our differences.
The title is quite misleading from the theme of the film itself as it suggests outdoor action drama, but Sand Storm mostly takes place indoors. It takes place in a Bedouin village in the Negev desert from where it showcases typical Arab society, where women oppress each other as they are first oppressed by their men. With an IMDb rating of 6.9, the film displays some very impressive cinematic skills from director Elite Zexer. Elite shows the world the hidden part of Arab culture.
Asmaa is an inspiring film that promotes survival and hope. It’s a film that shows how people view illnesses, especially AIDS. We see it through the struggle of Asmaa; a lady with AIDS, who after being stigmatized and ridiculed, decides to get better and take full control of her life. Through Asmaa, other people with AIDS are encouraged and empowered to recover and come back to life. The film is the first of its kind and because of it has received great support and nominations.
Haven’t you watched Arab movies at all? Now is the time to start!