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Another no-show for Arab films at Cannes

The Arab cinema is suffering from mediocrity and creative ineptitude as it fails to break into the international spotlight.
A palm tree is seen above a poster of the 67th Cannes Film Festival near the Port of Cannes on the eve of the opening of the Festival in Cannes May 13, 2014. The festival will run from May 14 to 25.        REUTERS/Yves Herman (FRANCE  - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)   - RTR3OWVU

Along with the various Arab film fests that sprang across Europe, the United States, Latin America and Australia over the past decade, Arab films have become a major fixture in dozens of film festivals all over the world. They carry a particular exoticism of a cinema fraught with political, social and economic instability. The recent success of Hany Abu-Assad’s “Omar” and Jehane Noujaim’s “The Square” at the last Academy Awards boosted the reputation of Arab films, while the huge revenues Haifaa al-Mansour’s “Wadjda” — one of the highest grossing foreign films of 2012 — proved their largely overlooked commercial potential … or that’s what Arab observers presumed.

At the end of every year, critics tend to get overexcited about the small crop of Arab films that made noise internationally; 2012 was a breakthrough year, mainly for those three aforementioned movies. But a look at the Arab representation at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival reveals a starker reality Arab filmmakers and producers must confront.

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