SAFAR Film Festival @ Ciné Lumière

The SAFAR Film Festival is the only festival in the UK dedicated to cinema from the Arab world. Founded in 2012 and run by The Arab British Centre, SAFAR offers a unique space for audiences to explore and celebrate the diversity of Arab cinema past, present, and future.

Co-presented with Shubbak Festival, the 2021 edition of SAFAR is curated by Rabih El-Khoury around the theme of Generational Encounters in Arab Cinema, showcasing contemporary and classic films with emergent youth, familial disparities and societal tensions at their centre.

SAFAR will run at the Institut Français’ Ciné Lumière from 3–7 July with screenings including the UK premiere of the intimate documentary Their Algeria, and two films featuring the renowned actor Sami Bouajila.

See the full programme


£12 adults, £10 concessions, BFI/ICA members

Sami Bouajila Double Bill - book tickets for both A Son and The Blessed for a reduced price of £20 adults, £18 concessions.

Institut Français du Royaume-Uni

17, Queensberry Place,
London SW7 2DT
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A grey haired man and a dark haired woman with a cut above her eye sitting side by side
A Son Dir. Mehdi M. Barsaoui.

A Son

Mehdi M. Barsaoui

Feature fiction, TN/FR/LB/QA, 2019, 96 minutes
In Arabic with English subtitles
Sami Bouajila Double Bill

Tunisia, summer 2011.

A holiday to the Southern country ends in disaster for Fares, Meriem and their 10-year old son Aziz when he is accidentally shot in an ambush. His injury will change the family’s lives forever and lead to the discovery of a long-buried secret. Will Aziz and their relationship survive?

Starring Cesar- and Cannes Best Actor Award-winning Sami Bouajila as Fares, A Son is the debut feature-length film of Mehdi M. Barsaoui. It received its World Premiere at the 76th Venice International Film Festival.




Sat 3 July 2021


A group of three women sitting and standing around a table
The Blessed Dir. Sofia Djama

The Blessed

Sofia Djama

Fiction, FR/BE/QA, 2017, 102 minutes
In Arabic and French with English subtitles
Sami Bouajila Double Bill

Algiers, a few years after the civil war. Amal and Samir have decided to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary in a restaurant. While on their way, they share their views on Algeria: Amal tells about lost illusions and Samir about the necessity to cope with them. At the same time, their son Fahim and his friends Feriel and Reda are wandering about in a hostile Algiers about to steal their youth.

Sofia Djama’s The Blessed explores the post-war state of mind of a city and its inhabitants: from jaded former revolutionaries to its emerging youth, navigating growing up in a city rendered immobile by its disconcerting  past.


Sun 4 July 2021


An elderly man and woman sitting on a bus
Their Algeria Dir. Lina Soualem

Their Algeria

Lina Soualem

Documentary, DZ/CH/QA, 2020, 82 minutes
In Arabic and French with English subtitles
UK premiere

After 62 years of living together, Lina’s grandparents, Aïcha and Mabrouk, have decided to separate. Together, they came from Algeria to Thiers, a small medieval town in the middle of France, over 60 years ago. Side by side, they have experienced this chaotic immigrant life. For Lina, their separation is an opportunity to question their long journey of exile and their silence.

"Lina Soualem makes a successful directorial debut with an intimate, sensitive and poignant documentary about her grandparents and the identity of Algerians who immigrated to France after the war."

cine europa

Live post film Q&A
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Lina Soualem led by SAFAR curator Rabih El-Khoury.


Weds 7 July 2021


SAFAR Film Festival: Generational Encounters in Arab Cinema is presented in partnership with the Shubbak Festival and is supported by Barjeel Art Foundation and by Film Hub London, managed by Film London. Proud to be a partner of the BFI Film Audience Network, funded by the National Lottery.  

Logos for SAFAR film festival