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Dubai festival awards Palestinian thriller ‘Omar’

Palestinian thriller “Omar”, a tale of love, betrayal and struggle in the Israeli-occupied territories, on Friday scooped two top prizes at the Dubai International Film Festival. Omar won the DIFF awards in the best Arabic feature category and with Hany Abu Assad as best director of an Arabic feature. The film had received a jury prize in the “Un Certain Regard” category at the Cannes festival. It tells of a young Palestinian who dodges bullets to climb the separation wall built by Israel to see his girlfriend Nadia on the other side of their divided West Bank town.

The tale becomes complicated when Omar and his childhood friends, Amjad and Tarek, the brother of Nadia, launch a guerrilla attack on Israeli forces. Omar is arrested and then faces a struggle between loyalty to his friends and love under blackmail by intelligence agent Rami, who arranged his release to use him as an informant. Director Abu Assad shot to prominence in 2006 with “Paradise Now” about two would-be suicide bombers.

A total of 174 films from 57 different countries, including over 100 films from the Arab world, competed for awards in the 10th edition of the DIFF, which opened on December 6 and ends Saturday. A special jury prize for Arab features went to Nabil Ayouch, producer of “They are the Dogs” from Morocco. The film’s Hassan Badida won the best Arab actor award. Yasmine Raees was best actress in an Arabic feature prize for her role in the “Factory Girl.” (AFP)

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