Lady Kul el-Arab, directed by Ibtisam Salh Mara'ana is the story of one young woman's pursuit of her dreams.
Duah Fares is a Druze high school girl, from the town of Ramma in the Galilee. Her dream is to win the "Lady of the Arabs" local beauty pageant. She is a beautiful teenager with a lot of charm and her parents support her in her dream. After receiving training in modeling, make-up, style, she successfully reaches the stage of being a finalist in the Lady Kul el-Arab contest.
But then Duah expands her horizons, changes her name to Angolina and decides that she wants to enter the Israeli beauty contest, which is a larger, national pageant, and would give her greater opportunities and exposure if she were to win. There are some difficulties, however. The Israeli pageant would force her to wear revealing clothes and to appear in public wearing a bathing suit. In addition, she is told that she must choose between the two pageants.
As a result of the publicity, the family receives death threats and the religious leaders of the Druze community condemn her participation in such an event. Duah says, "They can't deny me my dream."
View an on-line interview by Rosie Walunas with the filmmaker, Ibtisam Ma'arana, who grew up in a traditional family in Faradeis (an Israeli Arab town on the coast, south of Haifa). Ibtisam Ma'arana is committed "to show the reality, if it's good reality or worse reality. To make films for me is to show my society, a kind of mirror, so that we can look on ourselves and to try maybe to make a change."
Another film by the same filmmaker is Three Times Divorced, about a Bedouin woman named Khitam who is fighting for custody of her children.
The film Lady Kul el-Arab is available from Ruth Diskin Films