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Director's Choice: Alaa Eddine Aljem

We asked the director of «The Unknown Saint» to choose his favourite films in filmingo. Find out here which works have left their mark on him, inspired him, enchanted him... and watch them online too!

Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (2011)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Turkey
151′
Life in a small town is akin to journeying in the middle of the steppes: the sense that "something new and different" will spring up behind every hill, but always unerringly similar, tapering, vanishing or lingering monotonous roads...
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«A film that demands patience from the viewer, a patience that is rewarded at the end. Photography, poetry and realism are mixed together. A touching film by someone who masters his work.»
About Elly (2009)
Asghar Farhadi
Iran
114′
After having spent many years in Germany, Ahmad returns to his native Iran for a holiday. His friends from his student days organise a three-day break on the Caspian Sea. One of the party, a fun-loving woman named Sepideh takes the matter in hand. Unbeknown to the rest of the group, she has also invited a young woman named Elly, who is a nursery school teacher at her daughter’s kindergarten. Ahmad has just emerged from an unhappy marriage and is now divorced from his German wife. He would very much like to begin a new life with an Iranian woman. His friends are aware of his desire and it gradually dawns on them that this is why Sepideh has asked Elly to accompany them on their trip. The others all begin to lavish their attentions on Elly, singing her prai - ses unequivocally. But then, on the second day of their holiday, something happens and Elly disappears. All at once their light-hearted mood evaporates. The friends begin to agonise about the whys and wherefores of Elly’s disappearance, bringing to an abrupt end the sense of harmony that once pervaded their get-together. They contact Elly’s parents, but when they learn that they have no news of Elly’s whereabouts their anxiety begins to turn into panic. Carefully, the friends begin to go over the conversations of the previous day and their phone calls to Elly’s relatives, trying to identify a moment that could give them a lead. Finally, they blame Sepideh for having invited Elly in the first place and ruining their holiday. During the course of just two days, their opinion of Elly has turned about face. Until, on the last day of their holiday, the truth emerges.
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«Together with "A Separation" this is for me the best film of Farhadi. A finely crafted script, phenomenal actors. Pure excitement for the audience.»
«An innovator in his day, this film ages well. It presents the real as a perspective of reality. He succeeds excellently in creating a multitude of narratives that together form a unity, allowing the viewer to immerse himself in a different perspective on the same event each time.»
«There are films that leave a mark, this one is one for me. It asks the question of what descent and paternity are in such a subtle and touching way.»
Theeb (2014)
Naji Abu Nowar
Jordan
100′
In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination. In 1916, in the Hejaz Province of the Ottoman Empire, the young Bedouin Theeb (Jacir Eid) is learning from his elder brother Hussein (Hussein Salameh) the skills for everyday survival in their harsh environment. Immersed in a way of life that has endured for centuries, the brothers are unaware of the tremendous upheavals taking place at the fringes of their world: the First World War is raging in Europe, the Ottoman Empire is coming undone, the Great Arab Revolt is brewing, and the British officer T.E. Lawrence is plotting with the Arab Prince Faisal to establish an Arab kingdom. When British officer Edward (Jack Fox) and his Bedouin guide Marji (Marji Audeh) stumble wayward into their tribe's camp, the two brothers' destiny is forever changed. Abiding by the Bedouin custom that guests cannot be refused aid, Hussein is assigned to accompany the two strangers to their destination - with the uninvited Theeb, eager for adventure, following close behind. The ensuing journey, filled with danger and hardship, will result in Theeb's greatly hastened maturation in a culture where a man's honour and righteousness determines his inclusion or expulsion from the community.
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«Because it was time for a Bedouin Western "Theeb" is also aesthetically remarkable.»
«Bensaidi is a Moroccan countryman and this is a successful debut. I was already an admirer of his short films and "Mille mois" strengthened my desire to make films. Simple, minimalist, modest, gentle and poetic.»

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