Once beloved in the Arab world, cinema revisits the Kingdom. With award-winning films, drama, and surprising twists. Here are five Arab films you don’t want to miss.

Shams al-Ma'arif

Box office sales exceeded 30.8 million tickets, After decades without cinemas. Saudi filmmakers were more than ready to impress the crowds with original storylines and great cinematography.

One film stood out in particular named “Shams al-Ma'arif”. It takes place in a high school In 2010, where senior Husam, his best friend Ma’an, and their teacher Orabi set out to produce a no-budget horror movie. Shams al-Ma'arif took the kingdom by storm and gets a spot in Netflix’s Top #10 Picks.

This fun family-friendly film with strong-willed characters will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is also lighthearted, and is guaranteed to make you laugh.

The present

A man, who is with his little daughter, struggles tremendously to get a fridge through the Israeli occupation imposed barriers. We feel like we are part of their journey and emphasize how badly they want to get the present to the wife. Many watched the short after John Brennan, former director of the C.I.A, recommended it to US President Biden recommended it.

This short has shifted the perspectives of many. On the other hand, victims of the occupation found the film to be undermining the killing and imprisonment of children and adults at a shocking rate. However, it has succeeded at highlighting the daily struggles of people living under the occupation.


Capernaüm meaning "Chaos," tells the story of Syrian boy Zain, who sues his parents in the slums of Lebanon. Zain meets Ethiopian migrant worker Rahil, who gives him shelter and food, as Zain takes care of her baby son Yonas in return.

Nominated for an Oscar. This heart-wrenching and ever-so-relevant feature depict the reality of millions of stateless children. With its captivating music, it will win your heart.

Cruel Sea

A beautiful young woman called Nura is forced to marry a rich man when her love, Mussaid dies tragically while diving for pearls. He seeks to earn enough money to be able to propose to her. His friend finds an enormous pearl in an oyster after his departure. He stares at the sea with tears in his eye and says, "Bas ya Bahr!” (Oh sea)

The film takes you on a heartwarming journey to old Kuwait, evoking nostalgia with its authentic feel. The film is considered a classic and was one of the few films that lasted the test of time.

Karnak Café

Karnak Café is a 1975 Egyptian political film by Ali Badrakhan. The film is about a group of university students getting arrested by the police for meeting in “Karnak”. A place that is known for hosting some thinkers who criticized the 1952 revolution.

Karnak Café film is sadly still relevant today with all the political corruption occurring in the world.

The Arab world is bringing life to the big-screen with its unique films. From Saudi Arabia to Jordan to Lebanon, stories live on.