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A New Day in Old Sana’a

A New Day in Old Sana’a

Director: Bader Ben Hirsi
Yemen, United Kingdom | Arabic, English
2005 | 86min.
Subtitles: English
Format: Digital Betacam
Federico is an Anglo-Italian photographer who has come to Sana’a to experience its fabled light but is really seeking the stories that will imbue his images with authenticity. He stumbles upon one such tale in the predicament of his assistant Tariq, a young man from a respectable family on the verge of marrying Bilquis, a young woman of an equally respectable family. Tariq has never laid eyes on his bride-to-be, but he believes he sees her dancing through the streets one night in a white dress he has given her as a present and is instantly smitten. It turns out that the dress was stolen, and an enamored Tariq now has to face the biggest dilemma of his life and choose between an impending marriage to Bilquis and the love on the the other. The ancient city of cobbled streets and soaring fired brick towers provides a striking backdrop to Bader Ben Hirsi’s debut film also credited as the first feature film to emerge from Yemen. Ben Hirsi’s treatment of this story of star-crossed lovers who must overcome obstacles of tradition and class if they want to be together betrays a documentarian’s interest in society and culture, while Muriel Aboulrouss’scinematographic caress of the exotic interior and exterior locations of the city and Federico’s bedtime story exposition speak directly to foreign audiences. —Jim Quilty

Director,  Bader Ben Hirsi

Director,  Bader Ben Hirsi

Bader Ben Hirsi enrolled for his MA in drama production at London’s Goldsmith's College, then devoted himself to depicting the Arab world in a favourable image, starting with his first feature-length doc The English Sheikh and the Yemeni Gentleman (2000). A New Day In Old Sana’a, his first feature, won the Best Arab Film prize at the 2005 Cairo International Film Festival. Since then he has devoted himself to documentary film and was among the coproducers of Mohamed al-Daradji’s Son of Babylon (2009).

Cast and Crew

Director
Bader Ben Hirsi
Cast
Nabil Saber, Dania Hammoud, Sahar Alasbahi, Redha Khoder, Paolo Romano, Amal Ismail
Production Company
Felix Films Entertainment, YMC Pictures
Sales Contact
Arab Film Distribution, USA
Music
Abbs Abdali
Producer
Abbs Abdali
Sound Designer
James Starnes
Screenwriter
Bader Ben Hirsi
Editor
Andrew Lloyd
Cinematographer
Muriel Aboulrouss
Sound
James Starnes
Production Designer
Tim Keates
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