For the first time, a Middle Eastern Film Week will be held at the Jerusalem Cinematheque, in collaboration with the Van Leer Institute, from February 17-24.During the week, contemporary Middle Eastern movies from Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Algeria and the Sudan will be shown, as well as classics from Egypt. The screenings will be accompanied by short lectures by researchers who will discuss the context of the social, cultural and political issues that are brought up by each film and offer new perspectives on them.Dr. Tsameret Levy-Daphny, the director of the Forum for Turkish Studies at of the Van Leer Institute, said, “Through these works we will try to show the fullness and complexity of the Middle East by translating them into Hebrew, and to offer a cultural bridge that will reduce the strangeness and expand the relationship between Israeli society and neighboring Middle East countries.”The opening-night film will be Manele Labidi’s Arab Blues, about a young woman who returns home to Tunis after studying in Paris and opens a psychology practice.Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloïsi’s Sofia tells the story of a woman who gives birth out of wedlock in Casablanca. The film won the Un Certain Regard-Screenplay prize at the Cannes Film Festival.The tragedy of the Syrian civil war is the focus of Insyriated, by Philippe Van Leeuw, which looks at the war through the story of one mother trying to keep her family safe for a single day.Shadi Abdel Salam’s 1969 The Mummy is considered one of the most important Egyptian films ever made. It tells the story of a search for stolen Egyptian artifacts.Rayhana’s I Still Hide to Smoke tells the story of Fatima, who runs a hammam (Turkish bath) for women in Algeria in 1995. The civil war between the government and Islamic factions creates political, religious and personal tensions that affect Fatima and her clients over the course of one day packed with stress and drama.Talking About Trees, by Suhaib Gasmelbari, tells the story of a group of retired Sudanese filmmakers who battle to bring movie-going back to Sudan.Ziad Doueiri’s Oscar-nominated The Insult is a brilliant look at how the conflict between Palestinian Muslim and Lebanese Christian neighbors in Beirut over the repair of a gutter escalates into a legal and political conflict. Its star, Kamel El Basha, won the Best Actor award for his performance at the Venice Film Festival in 2017.For more information, go to the cinematheque’s website at jer-cin.org.il/en.