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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

Yemeni drama '10 Days Before the Wedding' completes Arab Oscars list

Amr Gamal's movie is the ninth Arabic-language film to be submitted for Oscar consideration

A still from the Oscar-nominated '10 Days Before the Wedding'.
A still from the Oscar-nominated '10 Days Before the Wedding'.

Amr Gamal’s social commentary 10 Days Before the Wedding is not only Yemen’s first ever submission to the foreign language film category at the Oscars, but is also believed to be the first film ever produced, shot and publicly screened in the country since its warring North and South united in 1990.

The screening was perhaps the hardest part – although other films have been made in Yemen, they have only ever been shown on TV, and with a lack of functioning cinemas in the war-torn state, Gamal and co were forced to tour wedding halls to get their movie in front of the public.

He told The National ahead of the film’s release in August: "We wanted to show the real nice face of Aden, the port city which was a link between the east and the west in the 18th and 19th centuries," Gamal says. "We tried to shed light on the daily life of the ordinary people who have been residing peacefully in Aden for a long time until the Houthis invaded the city causing pain and suffering."

Lead actress Sally Hamada added: “We wanted to light a candle of happiness for the people in our country who have been living in doom and gloom because of the war. The movie was a great chance for me because it will restore the role of the cinema in Aden which is coming at a very critical time.

"People are so excited to see the movie because they miss happiness, they miss the smile which was stolen from their faces because of the war."

The movie joins other regional nominations from Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Iraq and Palestine, as well as an Arabic-language Bosnian movie, on the Oscars longlist, which will be cut down to the final nominations in January, ahead of the ceremony in March 2019. The deadline for nominations has now passed.

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Read more:

Despite Yemen's war, cinema returns to Aden with a tale about marriage

Is the Oscar nomination for best foreign language film a golden ticket to fame?

Here are the Oscar contenders from the Middle East

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