Samer Najari and Dominique Chila Canada / 2013 / 104 minutes New York Premiere
In English, French and Arabic with subtitles
Times and Venues:
Q&A Attendees *subject to change: Samer Najari, Dominique Chila
Rarely does a film combine such high quality elements. With Arwad, directors Dominique Chila and Samer Najari have crafted a visually stunning, emotionally charged masterpiece. Ali (Ramzi Choukair, who has been described as the Syrian Javier Bardem) struggles with a harsh middle-aged reality after his beloved mother dies. Torn between a wife and a mistress; his family and a desire for adventurous spontaneity; the old world and the new; he travels home with his mistress and his mother’s ashes to rediscover his roots.
An unexpected turn of events connects past and present in a film that is exotic, romantic and foreboding. The soundtrack provides a sparse yet distinct and amorous background matching the romantic setting of the remote Syrian island. The acting is transcendent and raw, including a commanding performance by Julie McClemens, who plays the understanding but psychologically exhausted wife. Arwad is an absolute standout of this festival season. – Johnny Misheff
Samer Najari was born in Moscow in 1976 to a Syrian father and a Lebanese mother. At 18, he entered Damascus University to study architecture. Having arrived in Canada in 1994, he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film production at Concordia University in 2000. In 2001, he was selected for a two-year residency at the Studio National des Arts Contemporains in Le Fresnoy, France. Returning to Canada, he made two short films, both of which won prizes in various international festivals. Arwad is his first feature film and is co-directed by Dominique Chila.
Dominique Chila was born in Montréal in 1974 from a Canadian mother and an Italian father. She studied photography before setting her sights on film. In 1997, she started her BFA in Film Production at Concordia University. After obtaining her Bachelor’s in 2000, she was chosen for a two years residency at the Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Le Fresnoy in France. Since returning to Montréal in 2003, Dominique Chila has been working closely with Samer Najari in creating a number of short films. Arwad is her first feature-length film and is co-directed by Samer Najari.
Cast/Featuring: Ramzi Choukair, Fanny Mallette, Julie McClemens
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