Uncover the cultures of the Arabic world depicted by some of the most interesting Arabic movies. These stories expose the movie-watchers to beautiful and unique storylines, most of which challenge the stereotypes of Arabs commonly shown in popular media.
Here’s a list of some of the best Arabic movies and what they are about.
Wadjda is a tale of a young Saudi girl who wants to own and ride a bicycle against all odds, as cycling isn’t allowed for girls in her country. It is interesting to see how she faces various challenges that come her way as she tries to raise money for her bike. She also enters a Quran chanting competition to win enough money to fulfill her dreams. It is noteworthy that this is the first full-length Saudi film ever directed by a Saudi female and shot entirely in the Gulf country. Wadjda successfully secured a nomination for the Best Foreign Film at the 2014 BAFTA Awards.
A young Palestinian man along with his friends plans an attack on an Israeli checkpoint. But it is not something they’ve really thought through, which is why Omar gets captured by Israeli authorities in the pursuit. To prove his loyalty, as well as marry the girl he falls in love with, Omar has to act as a double secret service agent. The story is suspenseful and engaging and full of human emotions that makes this film remarkable. This movie was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.
3. Rock the Casbah
The film revolves around the story of a Moroccan family, where the death of a patriarch prompts a reunion between all his children, including his three contrasting daughters. Enjoy the cycle of joy and sorrow as the characters mourn, uphold some traditions, and reflect upon life, all while certain secrets are revealed. This well-acted comedy-drama counteracts cultural stereotypes.
Inspired by true events, this movie sees three journalism students who investigate a twenty-year-old witchcraft case, where a woman was assaulted and left mutilated on the side of a road. Dachra showcases brutal murders, child sacrifice, and mysterious events in a town marked by sinister rituals. Be prepared for unnerving thrills and a visually gripping tale.
This story centers around five women in a beauty salon in Beirut, whose lives intersect as each of them deals with their own set of problems. The movie beautifully portrays the very real societal and religious pressures that women face in their everyday lives. It is a remarkable tale of struggling to find happiness and love in a sweet and humorous manner.
6. Until the Birds Return
Three cross-generational stories interlink to unfold their delicate tales that channel the emotional, political, and moral mood of contemporary Algeria. However, the relevance of their issues is universal and feels relatable. The storyline is authentic and refreshing, with a little bit of melodrama. Be ready to dive into the lives of every character with the film’s simple and realistic approach.
7. The Yacoubian Building
This film about modern Egyptian society follows the lives of people connected and living within a historic building in Cairo. The Yacoubian Building follows several storylines and shows issues surrounding the lack of social mobility in Egyptian society. This movie is said to have one of the biggest budgets of all Egyptian movies ever made.
Watching movies from different cultures provide valuable windows into both language and culture.
For a more extensive list of Arabic movies, check out this link.