THE TORONTO ARAB FILM FESTIVAL Rating: NNNN
For those mourning the summer lull in film festivals, here comes the latest. The Toronto Arab Film Festival runs through this weekend, packing in loads of films too rarely seen here. The best part is that the TAFF is still small and agile enough to screen both landmark feature films by Youssef Chahine and Hany Abu-Assad and experimental shorts by locals like Kathy Wazana and b.h. yael.
The feast begins with Planet Of The Arabs (July 21, 3:30 pm, NFB), Jacqueline Salloum's hilarious and disturbing fake movie trailer featuring crazed, murderous, jabbering Arab stereotypes from dozens of Hollywood movies and TV shows.
At the other end sits Bab El-Shams (Door To The Sun), Yousry Nasrallah's epic period film set both in the dispossessed Palestinian past of 1948 and in more recent but no more settled times.
Bab El-Shams (July 23, 7 pm, Bloor) charts Palestinian struggles as a continuum of resistance and internal conflict. But instead of dry history, Nasrallah uses sometimes surprising visual poetry.