Wajib takes top prize at Arab Cinema Center Critics Awards

A Taste Of Cement named best documentary

by Amber Wilkinson

Mohamed Bakri, left, named Best Actor at the awards for Wajib, which also took home the Best Film and Best Screenplay accolades
Mohamed Bakri, left, named Best Actor at the awards for Wajib, which also took home the Best Film and Best Screenplay accolades

Wajib was the big winner at the second Annual Critics Awards organised by the Arab Cinema Center. Annemarie Jacir's drama about a father and his ex-pat son coming together in Nazareth to deliver wedding invitations was named Best Film and took home the award for Best Screenplay. Mohamed Bakri, who stars as the film's dad - alongside his real-life son Saleh - was named Best Actor.

The award for Best Director went to the Oscar-nominated Ziad Doueiri for The Insult - exploring a clash between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee - while Mariam Al Ferjani was given the Best Actress prize for her role as a woman who faces a night of hell at the hands of the authorities after being raped in Beauty And The Dogs.

Annemarie Jacir picked up the award for Best Film and Best Screenplay
Annemarie Jacir picked up the award for Best Film and Best Screenplay Photo: Arab Cinema Center
The Best Documentary went to A Taste Of Cement, an essay film by Ziad Kalthoum that considers Syrian builders in exile.

Film critic Youssef Cherif Rizkallah received the Achievement Award for Film Critics as the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) seeks to highlight the profession of film criticism by honoring one of the Arab or foreign film critics annually.

Film analyst Alaa Karkouti, co-founder of the Arab Cinema Center and CEO of MAD Solutions, commented on this, saying, "It's a great accomplishment that four of the Annual Critics Awards went to two films made by female directors; Wajib by Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir and Beauty and the Dogs byTunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania. This female presence is a strong indicator of the diversity that the Arab film industry is witnessing."

The awards were presented at a ceremony during Cannes Film Festival. The winners were selected by 62 film critics from 28 countries around the world.

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