The Arab Spring and Extremism: the main themes at Lebanon film festival

Middle East

Topics ranging from the so-called "Arab Spring", the dangerous issue of extremism, and the place of women in the Middle East were touched upon at the film Festival in Beirut.

The international film festival held in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, sought to bring film producers from across the Arab World to showcase their works and perspectives on a variety of topics concerned with realities on the ground across the region.

Indeed, civil conflicts continue to rage on in countries like Syria and Libya, all a product of the so-called “Arab Spring” that was set off over 8 years ago. The issue of extremism has played a significant role in the development of these conflicts.

Lebanon itself, although not currently experiencing an internal military conflict of its own, is embroiled in these realities, having accepted over a million Syrian refugees and still living in the aftermath of its own civil war over three decades ago. The current stability of Lebanon and its proximity to these realities made for an appropriate location to hold this film festival.

The topic of women’s role in Arab social life was also touched upon in the film festival. A film called “The Fields of Freedom” was shown. It follows three young women in their efforts to form a football team in the context of a “post-revolution” Libya following the fall of the Gaddafi Regime.

I discovered signs of power hidden in women, and they are revealed when difficulties are severe. These women work and earn money to support their families or learn. Yet, they have time to do what they want even when they think that everything around them is collapsing”, said Nazeeha Areebi, the producer of “The Fields of Freedom” film.

A film festival dedicated to women was held last year in Beirut, the first of its kind, marking a watershed moment in the direction being taken by Arab cinema. These occasions are providing much needed platforms for artistic producers from across the region to come together and critically tackle social and political issues by taking into account a broad range of perspectives.