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May 17 7:00 PM
NATION ESTATE & HABIBI
Houston Palestine Film Festival
Larissa Sansour & Susan Youssef
By creating an avenue for showcasing films about Palestine as well as films by Palestinian directors, the Film Festival “brings and honest and independent view of Palestine and its diaspora’s society, culture, and political travails through the art of film. . . . A major goal of the Festival is to directly expose our local community to the perspective of artists as a first step toward circumventing the many government and media filters that pollute our understanding of Palestine and the wider region.” For the first film, with its glossy mixture of computer generated imagery, live actors, and an arabesque electronica soundtrack, the Nation Estate film explores a vertical solution to Palestinian statehood. Palestinians have their state in the form of a single skyscraper: the Nation Estate. One colossal high-rise houses the entire Palestinian population – now finally living the high life. For the second film, Habibi, a story of forbidden love, is a fiction feature set in Gaza. Two students in the West Bank are forced to return home to Gaza, where their love defies tradition. To reach his lover, Qays grafittis poetry across town. Habibi is a modern re-telling of the famous ancient Sufi parable Majnun Layla. The full Arabic title is Habibi Rasak Kharban, which translates as “darling, something’s wrong with your head.”
Receptions to follow films. $10 for general admission.
May 18 7:00 PM
Houston Palestine Film Festival
Director Rola Nashef expands her award-winning short film for her feature-length debut, a spirited comedy-drama set in a small, family-owned Detroit gas station. When his father is killed during an armed robbery, Lebanese-American youth Sami suddenly finds himself saddled with a life he never wanted. Forced to take over the family business to save both himself and his heartbroken mother from certain financial ruin, the once university-bound Sami must put his dreams aside and resign himself to a world composed of junk food, magazines, overpriced Tigers baseball memorabilia, and off-brand perfume. Working behind newly installed bulletproof glass (“they stay on their side, I stay on mine”), Sami operates the station with his ambitious cousin Mike, who has dreams of expanding the business by opening a second location. Aided by addle-brained parking lot attendant Roger, they struggle to keep the business afloat, while engaging in an ongoing feud with a neighbouring gas station over the soaring price of petroleum. When the beautiful Naj, a sophisticated but proper “up-do girl,” arrives at the station to deliver an order of cheap long-distance phone cards from her brother’s cellphone store, Sami is immediately smitten, but this budding, secret romance is threatened by Naj’s brother’s strict ideas about how his younger sister should conduct herself in public. Clandestine meetings with Naj behind the protective bulletproof box set Sami’s head spinning, as he begins to dream of a life away from the limited horizons of the family business.
Reception to follow the film. $10 for general admission.
May 29 6:30 PM
Rice Cinema & QFEST to present MILK (2007)
Shades of Gay
Gus Van Sant
QFest: The Houston GLBT-Q International Film Festival in partnership with Rice Cinema and Rice student group Q&A (Queers & Allies) presents the fourth and final monthly screening series concluding May 29, 2013 at Rice Media Center. The series, titled “Shades of Gay”, featured films selected and introduced by notable individuals within Houston’s Queer Community. Generously underwritten by The Hollyfield Foundation, “Shades of Gay” continues this month with "MILK" directed by Gus Van Sant and selected by Guest Programmer, Blake Hayes from Houston's Mix 96.5 FM. Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 students with ID. Preceding the film, there will be a reception / Meet & Greet with guest programmer Blake Hayes from 6:30-7:30 p.m., followed by the film screening at 7:30 p.m.
Visual and Dramatic Arts
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