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Only Men Go to the Grave

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The film is tackling taboo issues in Arab society such as feminism and transgenderism. The first collaboration between Iraqi and Iranian Arabs following the first Gulf war. The film landed its world premiere at the DIFF where it won the Best Muhr Emirati Feature Award. The film marks director Abdulla Al Kaabi’s debut feature film after his short film, The Philosopher, with famed French actor Jean Reno.
Only Men Go to the Grave Poster
2016 / UAE80 min/ Drama
Original Title
Al Rejal Faqat E’nda Al Dafn
Set in 1988, a blind mother welcomes her estranged daughters to tell them a secret. Unfortunately, she accidentally dies while sharing it. During the funeral, the daughters try to deal with their mother’s sudden death and also work together to unveil her secret by looking for clues from visitors. Throughout the funeral, their own lives continue to unravel, giving room for buried family tensions to gradually surface, while struggling to deal with their own secrets and deep-rooted guilt. The arrival of an unfamiliar guest rocks the entire foundation of their family. How do they deal with the aftermath?
Saleema Yaqoub
Heba Sabah
Abdelreza Nasari
Screenwriter: Abdulla Al Kaabi
Dunia Ayaso
Félix Sabroso
DOP: Payman Shadmanfar
Editor: Meysam Molaei
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Production Company(ies)
El Booma Films
Abdulla Al Kaabi
Farshad Mahoutforoush
Kambiz Safari
film festivals
film festivals KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, India
film festivals Oran International Arabic Film Festival, Algeria
film festivals Cape Town International Film Market & Festival (CTIFMF), South Africa
film festivals Sudan Independent Film Festival
film festivals Arab Cinema Week in New York, USA
film festivals Silk Road International Film Festival, Ireland
film awards
film awards Best Muhr Feature Award at the Dubai International Film Festival
Best Film Score Award at the Malmö Arab Film Festival, Sweden
“Al Kaabi explores with great delicacy the tension between how much we need or want to know about others’ personal lives — even close relatives’ — and what is better left unknown.” Gulf News

“Only Men Go to the Grave...seems designed to challenge expectations about Emirati filmmaking.” The National - Chris Newbould

“An Emirati filmmaker is pushing boundaries and bypassing state censors by delicately unraveling a story about a traditional Arab family grappling with issues of homosexual love, gender identity, sectarianism and women's rights.” VOA News