• ABDULLAH

Arab Films At Cannes 2020

4 Arab films featured in this year’s official selection



Unlike any other year, 2020 is definitely different for all of us. Perhaps from now on, nothing will be the same as it was before this year started. After a long time of speculating, the decision was made that the Cannes Film Festival this year has been canceled in its “original form” and later it was announced that it will be hosted virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.




The coronavirus affected every bit of our lives and everything has changed, especially events, lectures, workshops and many other forms of gatherings, which have turned into virtual meetings for the most part.The same applies to the 73rd edition of the annual festival; comprising 56 films this year. There are some outstanding films that were not included based on a decision from their creators, who wanted to postpone their release to winter or spring of 2021.



4 Arab films that have made it to the official selection:


  1. "DNA" by Maïwenn—a French Algerian production;

  2. "Passion Simple" by Danielle Arbid, a Lebanese film;

  3. "Souad" by Ayten Amin, an Egyptian Film;

  4. and "Broken Keys" (Fausse note) by Jimmy Keyrouz, a Lebanese film.

ADN | Maïwenn | Algeria + France

Algerian-French film AND (the original title) by director Maïwenn explores the director’s own complex family roots, which we are sure many of us can relate to.

Passion Simple | Danielle Arbid | Lebanon

Lebanese director Danielle Arbid’s Passion Simple in the French language is an intimate portrayal of forbidden love (who amongst us has not attempted to chase after forbidden fruit? Oh to see the world in bright colors and be awe struck; delicious and painful).


Souad | Ayten Amin | Egypt

Egyptian filmmaker Ayten Amin’s Souad is a hyper realistic portrayal of a young girl who embarks on a journey after her sister commits suicide; a very serious topic that reflects on the lives of many.


Broken Keys | Jimmy Keyrouz | Lebanon

Lebanese director Jimmy Keyrouz’s first Cannes-selected feature Broken Keys tells the story of a pianist who leaves his war-torn Lebanese village after it was overtaken by extremists. The numbers of refugees and their stories around the world make this movie a must-watch for all, for sure.

You can check out the full selection here.

This year, Arab films are depicting four important aspects of our own factual realities; ethnicities, love, death and fleeing from war; showcasing the reality of what the Arab world is living nowadays.


We hope to see more representation of Arabs in more film festivals because only then we can convey our messages, stories and voices to the whole world, working towards erasing and deconstructing stereotypes about the Arab World.


At the end, we wish all four runners a very good luck and may the odds be ever in their favor!

Written by Abdullah Al Habahbeh

Edited by Bahaa Alnawas

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