24 April 2024 Movie 15. ALFILM

Arab Film Festival Berlin


Event location

Kino Arsenal, City Kino Wedding, Kino in der KulturBrauerei,


24.04.2024, 19:30 - 30.04.2024, 23:00 Hr


North Africa, Art / Performance, Palestine / Jordan, Lebanon / Syria / Iraq, Gulf States



Taking place between the 24th - 30th of April 2024, this year’s edition of ALFILM – Arab Film Festival Berlin marks its 15th anniversary.

Featuring a wide selection of over 45 feature films, documentaries, and short films, the festival promises its audience a cinematic experience of high artistic value and relevance to timely issues.

The film festival was supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

Further information on the festival website: https://alfilm.berlin/

In the ALFILM Selection, the diversity of the contemporary landscape of Arab cinema is emphasized in film productions from the last two years. In a special segment titled Persona non grata the ALFILM Selection focuses on the representation of individual destinies susceptible to multifaceted dynamics of marginalization, stigmatization, and exclusion. The films in this segment take into account the racial, gendered and socio-economical structures that nourish stigma and marginalization on the one hand, and feature on the other hand individual attempts to resist, navigate through boundaries and reclaim one’s own narratives.

This year’s ALFILM Spotlight titled Here is Elsewhere: Palestine in Arab Cinema and Beyond engages with the question of Palestine as a cause of regional and global repercussions, not solely tied to territorial sovereignty. The film program explores the varied ways in which the longings and struggles of the Palestinian people unfold through compassionate encounters, solidarity accounts, and journeys of self-exploration, featuring a diverse selection of Arab and international film productions.

Master Classes, Panel Discussions, and Film Talks will enrich this year's edition, complemented by special events and live performances within the 15 Years ALFILM – 15 Years Arab Cinema in Berlin Program.

Programm Preview

  • Bye Bye Tiberias
    Documentary, director: Lina Soualem, France/Palestine/Belgium/Qatar, 2023, 82 min., Arab.,
    Fr. with En. ST

    The Emmy-nominated Hiam Abbass (known for The Visitor, Blade Runner 2049 and Succession) had to leave her Palestinian village of Deir Hanna in the lower Galilee to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress. She left behind her mother, grandmother, and seven sisters. In Paris, Hiam gave birth to her first daughter, Lina, and pursued a career full of success, which made her a shining world-star. Lina returns to her mothers village, with a camera in hand, determined to explore the herstory of her mother's family. With the help of archival footage, old family videos, and photographs, Lina weaves a personal narrative that portrays the struggles, hopes, and fears of women spanning four generations - a story that intimately retells the history of Palestine and profoundly reconfigures the experiences of its people with displacement, dispossession, and exile. Bye Bye Tiberias marks Lina Soualem's second feature film. It premiered at the Venice International Film Festival and toured several
    festivals worldwide, winning numerous awards, including Best Documentary Film at the London Film Festival and the Jury Prize at the Marrakech International Film Festival.
  • Dirty Difficult Dangerous
    Fiction, director: Wissam Charaf, France/Italy/Lebanon, 2022, 83 minutes.
    Arab., Amharisch, Bengali, En., en subt

    Beirut, Lebanon, nowadays. Ahmed, a Syrian refugee, and Mehdia, an Ethiopian migrant domestic worker, are living an impossible love. While Mehdia tries to free herself from her employers, Ahmed struggles to survive dealing in second-hand metal scraps, affected by a mysterious disease. The two lovers have no future, but they have nothing to lose.
    One day, they take their chance and flee Beirut in a hopeful and desperate attempt to get away while Ahmed's physical condition gets worse, slowly turning his body into metal. Dirty Difficult Dangerous was the opening film of the 19th Giornate degli Autori, won the Fedora Award at Venice Film Festival and was nominated Best Feature Film at Red Sea International Film Festival.
  • Background
    Documentary, director: Khaled Abdulwahed, Germany, 2023, 64 minutes.
    AR, sub EN

    A Syrian refugee in Germany himself, Khaled Abdulwahed traces the footsteps of his father Sadallah, who 60 years ago studied in East Germany—like the Syria of the past, it is a country that no longer exists.
    Once long ago invited to East Germany, Sadallah had not been able to join his son after the civil war broke out, despite Abdulwahed’s best efforts. In recordings of a faltering phone connection from battered Aleppo—an occasional explosion can be heard in the background—we hear Sadallah’s nostalgic reminiscences of a lost time and a lost era.
    We hear voices, but see no faces. What we do see is Abdulwahed’s view of German residential blocks, a railroad yard, an industrial zone. And we see his hands as he carefully photo-shops some of his father’s early photos to create new “old” pictures of the places in Germany where his father lived. It is a loving attempt to fill the historical gaps in the story of a father and a son; a microcosm reflecting the macrocos of politics, war, and long-lost ideals.
    The film premiered at IDFA Festival in 2023 and won the Grand Prix of the International Competition at FID Marseille.
  • Life is beautiful
    Documentary, director: Mohamed Jabaly, Norway/Palestine, 2023, 90 minutes.
    En./Arab./Nor., sub EN
    This will be followed by a film talk with Mohamed Jabaly.

    In 2014, the young Palestinian filmmaker Mohamed Jabaly was on an exchange in Norway when the borders of his home Gaza were closed for an unspecified period. This posed several problems, one being that the Norwegian government would not accept his Palestinian passport, meaning that Jabaly was now stateless. Then his application for a work permit was rejected, because being a self-taught filmmaker meant he didn’t have the necessary qualifications. It meant he was trapped with his host family in the arctic city of Tromsø, and couldn’t travel. While awaiting a decision from the court, and following the dismal paths of political and bureaucratic logic, Jabaly films himself and his Norwegian friends and colleagues in the snow-covered serenity of the spectacular Norwegian landscape. These scenes contrast starkly with the agonizing images and messages he receives from family and friends in Gaza. The close-knit artistic and film community in Tromsø, meanwhile, is making every effort to support Jabaly. The film premiered at IDFA Festival where it won the Best Directing Award and was screened at Tromsø International Film Festival.


Ulrike Lauerhaß

Senior Advisor and Project Manager Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung

Phone: +49 30 44310 419