Six movies by Arab filmmakers having premieres at Cannes festival

Works by Oscar-nominated Kaouther Ben Hania and Brazilian-Algerian director Karim Ainouz among the collection

Cannes Film Festival returns next month, running from May 16 to 27. EPA
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Cannes Film Festival has revealed its selection of films for this year’s iteration of the festival.

In addition to titles by Wes Anderson and Hirokazu Kore-eda, it will also showcase a handful of titles by Arab filmmakers, such as Oscar-nominated Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania and Brazilian-Algerian director Karim Ainouz.

From comedies and historical dramas to riveting tales about motherhood, here's what's screening.

Four Daughters

After landing an Oscar nomination for her 2020 film The Man Who Sold His Skin, many have been anticipating what Ben Hania will release next. Four Daughters tells the story of a mother, played by Hend Sabry, who discovers that two of her daughters have been radicalised and joined ISIS. The film is in the official competition for the coveted Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize.


A horror historical drama by Ainouz, Firebrand tells the story of Catherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of King Henry VIII. The 16th-century English ruler famously ordered the execution of two of his wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.

The film stars Alicia Vikander as Parr and Jude Law as King Henry. It is also in the official competition of the Cannes Film Festival.

Goodbye Julia

A film by Arab Sudanese director Mohamed Kordofani, Goodbye Julia will be the first Sudanese film to feature at Cannes.

The film tells the story of a northern Sudanese singer, Mona, who is overcome with guilt after covering up a murder of a southern Sudanese man. Aiming to clear her conscience, she invites the man’s widow, Julia, and her son, Daniel, into her home.

Goodbye Julia is competing in the Un Certain Regard section.

The Nature of Love

Directed by Monia Chokri, a Canadian filmmaker with Tunisian Berber roots, The Nature of Love tells the story of a university professor in an unexciting marriage who becomes attracted to a construction contractor she and her husband have hired to renovate their home.

The film is competing in Un Certain Regard.

Kadib Abyad

Kadib Abyad (The Mother of All Lies) is directed by Moroccan filmmaker Asmae El Moudir. The documentary explores the deadly bread riots in El Moudir’s neighbourhood in Casablanca in 1981. The film is competing in Un Certain Regard.

Les Meutes

Kamal Lazraq’s debut feature is competing in the Un Certain Regard category. The Moroccan director is known for his shorts The Man with a Dog and Drari.

Updated: April 16, 2023, 7:03 AM