Cultural Perspectives at the ‘Middle East Now’ 2022 Film Festival


One of the protagonists of “My Paper Life,” a story of a Syrian family who has emigrated to Brussels in search of a new life.

October 4 – 9: MIDDLE EAST NOW FILM FESTIVAL.  Cinema La Compagnia, via Cavour 50/r and Cinema Stensen, viale Don Minzoni 25/c, Florence unless otherwise noted. Subtitles in English and Italian. See for full schedule.

Middle East Now is screening a selection of contemporary, culturally eye-opening movies all week. There will be a selection of movies on every day that the festival is open. The week of immersion into Middle Eastern culture will include cinema, documentaries, art, comics, music, food, meetings, and other special events.

This festival has always had strong ties to current events concerning the culture and society of the Middle East. The hot topics in the movies will include affairs in Lebanon, Iran, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Israel, and many more in the area. The aim of Middle East Now is to help raise awareness about the cliches and stereotypes faced by this culture regularly.

The theme of this festival is “An Abstract of Home.” It explores the meaning of home, and its different definitions in that culture.

What makes a house a home? Is it a person that makes it a home or is it just where the heart is? Questions like these will be explored and many more with the showing of the films. The goal is to push the audience towards self-discovery and pose other questions of belonging and identity.

In this particular edition, Iran holds a very special place of importance. Middle East Now wants to highlight Iran and its people to bring attention to the difficulties their country is facing in recent days.

The first opening night film will be from Palestine.  Hudu’s Salon will feature the return of the great director Hany Abu-Assad with his latest work, an ordinary woman-turned-spy who is thrust into layers of betrayal and intrigue. The film is based on a true story (October 4 at 9 pm, Cinema La Compagnia).

Several well-known actors, including Jalal Masarwa, a young Palestinian actor and protagonist of the aforementioned film, will arrive in Florence for the festival as well as many directors.

The final film on closing night of the festival will be Iranian, winner of several awards such as the Best Film and Best Actor Award of the Horizons section at the last Venice Film Festival. It is also a fresh candidate for the Academy Awards. World War III, by Houman Seyed, is a grueling yet compelling tale about a victim of life learning to imitate his oppressors. (October 9, Cinema La Compagnia, 9 pm).

There will also be an audience award, where they will vote on the best movie and will be given at the end of the festival.

One of the special events included in Middle Eastern Now is an exhibition by Museo Novecento in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. The museum will display photo books, diaries, academic research, essays, sketches, and more, a project that invites the viewer to expand their knowledge about the Middle East.

For the complete program of every movie played and times they are being played, please see the website above. (Isabella Azzaro)