Learn Arabic by watching movies
Arabic is the 5th most spoken language worldwide, spoken by almost 700 million speakers all around the world. It is the official language in more than 20 countries. Being such an important and spread language all over the world, it remains a mystery for many who think of it as a challenging language.
More and more people are realizing the potential of this impressive language and are signing up for Arabic courses. No wonder why, Arabic is becoming a trendy language able to open up for job opportunities and a brain-challenging and mind-opening experience.
When learning a foreign language we shall emphasize every language competence. As well as grammar, writing, listening comprehension and oral expression shall be taken into account. When it comes to listening comprehension, movies are an excellent option to get used to the sound of the Arabic language and improving our oral expression.
Furthermore, since movies may portray the reality of the culture they belong, it is a wonderful way to immerse deep into the Arabic culture and traditions.
We have made a selection of some interesting Arab movies for you to get a taste of the Arab world and keep improving your Arabic, enjoy!:
1. Wajib (Duty)
A Palestinian drama film directed by AnneMarie Jacir and starring Mohammad Bakri and Saleh Bakri. This road movie delves into the relationship of a Palestinian father and son. The son, Shadi, is an architect living in Italy, and the father, Abu Shadi, is a school tutor living in Nazareth. In views of the upcoming wedding of his sister, Amal, Shadi returns to Nazareth to help prepare for the wedding.
While they drive around in Abu Shadi’s old Volvo to hand-deliver wedding invitations as the tradition sets, conflicts will arise among these two men with different world views and opinions.
Screened at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival, this comedic drama gives us an opportunity to reflect upon human relationships and the need to be respected and accepted.
2. Bab el hadid (Cairo station) – (1958)
This Egyptian movie from 1958 was directed by Youssef Chahine, considered by many one of the best Egyptian filmmakers of all times. It tells the story of a handicapped newspaper salesman living at Cairo train station. He develops an unhealthy obsession for a woman selling refreshments and takes it to the limit. Being a mix of Italian neo-realism and the “noir” genre, this extraordinarily powerful movie continues to stand out as one of the best Arab movies ever made.
3. The Idol
Another Palestinian drama film. In this case, the movie directed by Hany Abu-Assad and starring Tawfeek Barhom is based on real facts and tells the story of Mohammed Assaf, a young Palestinian man dreaming to become a singer. Coming from a refugee camp in Gaza, Mohammed crosses the border from Gaza into Egypt and manages to audition for the show Arab Idol. The movie ends showing real-life footage of Assaf winning the contest.
An international co-production between Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Qatar. This drama-thriller was written and directed by Naji Abu Nowar and released in 2014. The movie portrays a young Bedouin boy (Theeb) raised by his brother after their parents passed away. The boy will have to survive in the Wadi-Rum desert. Taking place during the First World War, the actors appearing were non-professional Bedouin people belonging to the Bedouin community in southern Jordan.
5. Le grand voyage
A French-Moroccan movie directed by Ismaël Ferrouki and released in 2005. We bring back the topic of road movies and father-son relationships. The movie portrays the father and son road-trip to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims and religious duty for all Muslims physically and economically capable.
The trip begins when Réda’s father tells him to make the pilgrimage to Mecca before Réda begins his exams to enter university in the south of France. A father and a son who didn’t quite understand each other but will begin an experience of communication and comprehension.
6. Al mummia (1969)
Considered one of the best Egyptian movies ever made, Al-mummia was written and directed by Shadi Abd al-Salam. Based on true events, it tells the story of an Egyptian clan (Horabat tribe) which robbed mummies and sold them in the antiquities black market back in 1881. The Egyptian archaeological school sent the army to keep an eye on the tombs of the Valley of the Kings and watch out for the clan. When the clan found out, conflicts arose and one of the clan members went to the police to help them find the cache of mummies.
If it’s your first time watching movies in Arabic we recommend you to start doing so with subtitles to help you at first. Remember that learning a new language is a process requiring consistency and patience, and motivation above all. Hope you have enjoyed our list and that you keep improving your Arabic!