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Jimmy Akingbola, Hiam Abbass in "Habibti"; Making International Festival Rounds

by Emmanuel Akitobi
August 21, 2011 5:40 AM
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Having already been named this year as an official selection to film festivals such as ECU-The European Independent Film Festival, and the Beirut, Durban, and Helsinki International Film Festivals, it was announced last week via the Facebook page for director Nour Wazzi's Habibti that the short film has also been accepted to the Montreal, Cyprus, and Valladolid International Film Festivals.

Starring Jimmy Akingbola (The Bill, The Crouches, Holby Blue), Hiam Abass (Munich, The Visitor, Amreeka), and Yasmine Al Massri (Caramel, Miral), Habibti was also seen in the Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival 2011.

After watching the trailer, I'm left with a neutral feeling that likely comes from seeing so many stories over the years about cultural clashes within families. It's a brief trailer that relies on the eyes of its characters to fill the viewer in. So until I see Habibti in its entirety, I can't say for sure if I'll co-sign. Check out the synopsis and trailer and let me know what you think.

Based on a short story by Oscar nominee Ari Folman ('Waltz with Bashir') and Lebanese director, Nour Wazzi, Habibti follows Iman, a conservative Arab woman who travels to London to visit her estranged daughter Amira only to find her living with her boyfriend... a black artist named Marlon. Their conflict brings humour and with it an unlikely bond.

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