‘You look like me’ on Islamic radicalization gets release in the Middle East

‘You look like me’ on Islamic radicalization gets release in the Middle East

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Egyptian-American director Dina Amer’s politically sensitive drama ‘You Resemble Me’, the story of Hasna Aït Boulahcen who was mistakenly considered Europe’s first female suicide bomber in 2015, is set to release in the Middle East via Front Row Filmed Entertainment .

Amer’s feature film debut, which positively premiered at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, is an in-depth character investigation of the frail young Muslim woman who was linked to the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, although she did not participate in them. Aït Boulahcen died in a counter-terrorism attack along with her cousin Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was one of the leaders of the coordinated attacks that killed 130 people in the French capital, including 90 in the Bataclan theatre.

Executive-produced by Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, Alma Har’el and Riz Ahmed, “You Resemble Me” had its world premiere last year from the Days of Venice section of the Venice Film Festival. Pic’s festival launch in the Middle East followed in December 2021 at Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival, where the potentially explosive film won the Audience Award.

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Represented by Match Factory for International and CAA for North America, “You Resemble Me” made the first outing of its limited theatrical release in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by screening on September 16 at Cinema Akil in Dubai.

Later this month, “You Resemble Me” will be broadcast across the region by the prominent Middle Eastern satellite pay television and streaming service Orbit Showtime Network (OSN). Pic has also been sold by Front Row to several unspecified regional TVOD stations.

“With ‘You Resemble Me,’ Dina Amer has made an absolute top film that audiences will remember for a long time,” said Front Row CEO Gianluca Chakra in a statement for Variety.

“It is with voices like hers and her brother/production partner Karim that the movie scene in MENA can change for the better,” added Chakra. “We look forward to working with them on many more projects in the future. Whether through distribution or production.”

Based on extensive research by Amer, who is an award-winning journalist, the powerful drama reconstructs the roots of Islamic radicalization in France by portraying the chaotic childhood of Aït Boulahcen in an underprivileged suburb of Paris, where she lived with her younger sister, with whom she had a strong bond, as well as her dysfunctional mother, originally from Morocco. After being arrested by the police for stealing food from a market stall, she and her sister were separated and placed in separate foster homes, even though they desperately wanted to stay together.

Aït Boulahcen grew up with a sense of loneliness, alienation, longing to be loved and to belong. Finally, Aït Boulahcen was lured by her cousin to join a terror cell after seeing the sensational media reports of the mass shooting in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.

She died three days after the attacks at the Bataclan concert hall in an explosion in the Paris suburbs that took place when another suspect detonated his explosive-filled vest.

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