Skip to Content
  • Now Playing
  • MFAH Films Overview
  • Tickets & Admissions
  • Movies Houstonians Love
  • Latin Wave
  • Film Buffs
  • Robert Frank Collection

Arab Worlds

Responding to the Contemporary Arab Projects focus of the FotoFest 2014 Biennial, this compelling selection of documentary and fiction films takes divergent approaches to considering the impact of recent events in that part of the world.  Visit for information about the Biennial’s citywide exhibitions and programs.

Community partner: FotoFest. Special thanks to Veronique Prentice, Rania Dania, Zoe Goldman, Wendy Watriss and Rasha Salti for their involvement with the film selections. 

Past Films in This Series


Ladder to Damascus

Soullam ila Dimashk

2013, in Arabic with English subtitles
Directed by Mohamed Malas
“Shot in Damascus months after the outbreak of the 2011 insurgency, under a shroud of secrecy and at great risk to the crew, Ladder to Damascus is a searing drama that weaves fiction and documentary with elements of the fantastical. In a century-old home in the center of the city, 12 young Syrians from across the country rent rooms, having moved to the capital in pursuit of studies or professional ambition after the insurgency broke out in the countryside. Huddled ... more info


2012, in Arabic with English subtitles
Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour
The first feature film shot in Saudi Arabia, directed by a woman who worked from inside a van directing her crew with a walkie-talkie, Wadjda is a remarkable achievement. Living in a suburb of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the eponymous 10-year-old heroine is a fun-loving, entrepreneurial girl who always pushes boundaries. Setting her sights on a shiny green bicycle, Wadjda desperately wants it in order to beat a neighborhood boy in a race. But her mother forbids it, based on society’s ... more info

The Attack

2012, in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
Directed by Ziad Doueiri
Introduced by Carroll Parrott Blue* Post-screening Skype Q&A with Ziad Doueiri** This morally complex thriller set in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict follows an Arab surgeon (Ali Suliman) who has a promising career in Tel Aviv. When the victims of a terrorist bombing at a restaurant are brought to his hospital, he is shocked to find his beloved wife (Reymond Amsalem) among the dead. Furthermore, it becomes clear that she is the primary suspect in the incident, something he initially refuses ... more info

The Square

Al midan

2013, in Arabic and English with English subtitles
Directed by Jehane Noujaim
Filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (Control Room) and her crew spent 20 months shooting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, starting with the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak, whose overthrow resulted in the inauguration of Arab Spring. Filmed from the perspectives of six activists in the center of the protests, what emerges is a gripping, vivid verité portrait of events as they unfolded. Following the documentary's premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the filmmakers returned to Egypt to continue filming, with the ... more info