The festival will begin Friday at 6 p.m. with "Forget Baghdad," a 2003 documentary that tells the story of four fascinating individuals caught between two communities. They are "Mizrahi" (Arabic-Jews), discriminated against as Jews in Baghdad and as Arabs in Israel. This is followed at 8 p.m. by "Rana's Wedding," an award- winning feature film which, Bennett says, "shows what life is really like in Palestine."
The Saturday program starts at 1 p.m. with "A Man In Our House," the Egyptian classic starring Omar Sharif as an assassin hiding out in a middle-class family's home. At 4 there's "Ali Zaoua: Prince Of The Streets," a feature about street gangs in Casablanca, which has won more than 40 international film awards.
The most controversial film of the festival, in Bennett's opinion, is Saturday's 6 p.m. screening of "Gaza Strip," a documentary that observes the stark realities of Palestinian life under Israeli occupation. The festival will close with "Threads," a multistranded rites-of-passage story about a young Chicago woman who accompanies her dying father to his birthplace in Morocco.
Tickets are free, available first-come, first-served from the Grace Street Theater ticket office. It will open at 5 p.m. Sept. 17, an hour before the first screening. For more information go to www.arabicfilmfestival.com. Daryl Grove
Friday, Sept. 17
6 p.m. "Forget Baghdad" (2003) 111 minutes
directed by: Samir
8 p.m. "Rana's Wedding" (2002) 90 minutes
directed by: Hany Abu-Assad
Saturday, Sept. 18
1 p.m. "A Man In Our House" (1961) 159minutes
directed by: Henri Barakat
4 p.m. "Ali Zaoua: Prince Of The Streets" (2000) 90 minutes
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