Netflix’s already swelling catalog of Israeli films has been bolstered by an award-winning Palestinian slate on its November film releases. The streaming giant, which has garnered immense controversy for the way its programming targets a predominantly Jewish audience, has announced a collection of Arabic language films that won praise, as well as the 2015 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Alwa Waad.
The collection includes outstanding films by such directors as Ahmed Al-Jafari, Nabil Ayouch, Amin Matalqa, and Ashraf Al-Khalidi. The collection includes the Yemenite film Day and Night, the biopic Alwa Waad, the road movie Arida, and several standout short films.
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Selected by the Palestinian film council, the collection arrives in conjunction with the launch of a new Arabic-language short film series. The shows will appear on YouTube and Facebook Live for 24 hours, and will stream multiple times during the month. “We’re providing the world with an opportunity to see and understand Palestinian films without censorship,” said Alfa Hassan, Netflix’s director of content for Arabic-speaking audiences.
The Palestinian short story collection The Tribe, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes film festival this year, will premiere on Netflix on Tuesday, in addition to the films selected for the collection.
Netflix, whose launch in the country has been delayed several times, still has yet to find its feet in the Middle East. The most recent iteration of its Oscar-hosting plans fell flat when the event’s director was forced to apologize for poor skills on social media and sporadic flow. The service, which has faced allegations of cultural appropriation, has been a controversial fixture in the region, especially with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, which took control of Gaza, including a soon-to-open luxury hotel in its capital, Gaza City.