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Series spotlights old and new Middle Eastern films

From Turkey to Israel, 'Children of Abraham/Ibrahim 4: Films of the Middle East and Beyond' offers a feast of timely cinema.

Chris Garcia

Youssef Chahine's 1959 drama "Cairo Station" launches "Children of Abraham/Ibrahim 4: Films of the Middle East and Beyond," a seven-film series presented by the Austin Film Society, running Tuesday through Feb. 16 at the Alamo South (1120 S. Lamar Blvd.).

The series features two classic and five contemporary titles from Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Palestine and Israel. It concludes with Nuri Bigle Ceylan's superb "Three Monkeys," which won the best director prize at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

"This is our local attempt to bring human faces and individual stories to the statistics and overwhelming images seen on TV and computer screens daily throughout the world," says Chale Nafus, director of programming at the film society. The films depict "unrequited love in a train station, struggles over ownership of land, the troubles a father has just getting home to a birthday party, a son struggling with his father over education, the ethnic and religious divisions within an Israeli neighborhood and the lengths to which a politician will go to avoid responsibility for his actions."

All shows are at 7 p.m. $6 general; free for film society members. Details and film descriptions:

• Tuesday. 'Cairo Station,' directed by Youssef Chahine, 1959. With the short documentary 'Cairo as Seen by Chahine,' 1991.

• Jan. 19. 'The Land,' by Youssef Chahine, 1969.

• Jan. 26. 'Laila's Birthday,' by Rashid Masharawi, 2008.

• Feb. 2. 'Son of a Lion,' by Benjamin Gilmour, 2007.

• Feb. 9 . 'Ajami,' by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, 2009.

• Feb. 16 — 'Three Monkeys,' by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2008.

— Chris Garcia