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Cannes Film Festival Showcasing North Africa Protests

Tunisian director Mourad Cheikh walks past a wall covered with graffiti in Tunis, ahead of the screening of his documentary 'No More Fear' - a 74-minute documentary filmed in the midst of the uprising that led to Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali
Tunisian director Mourad Cheikh walks past a wall covered with graffiti in Tunis, ahead of the screening of his documentary 'No More Fear' - a 74-minute documentary filmed in the midst of the uprising that led to Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali

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Lisa Bryant

The Arab Spring uprisings have reached even the glitzy French Riviera city of Cannes, which kicks off its annual film festival Wednesday. The gala is is showcasing Egypt and featuring two movies about this year's protests that toppled long-time Tunisian and Egyptian leaders.

The 11-day Cannes Film Festival will feature the usual mix of star power and an array of movies from all over the world.

One of the biggest attractions is U.S. director Woody Allen's latest film, "Midnight in Paris," which features French first lady Carla Bruni.

But Arab politics - notably the wave of anti-government demonstrations in North Africa and the Middle East - also will make an appearance.

The festival is honoring Egypt as its first ever guest country. Next week, Cannes will be airing "18 Jours" - or "18 Days" - a series of short films made by 10 Egyptian directors during the popular uprising that toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak.

Tunisia's so-called "Jasmine Revolution" also will be featured with "Plus Jamais Peur" - or "No More Fear" - a documentary shot during the January protests that chased dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali from power.

The movie features key participants in the Tunisian revolt, including human rights lawyer Radhia Nasraoui.

In an interview with VOA during the January uprising, Nasroui said the departure of Ben Ali was the beginning of a victory, but a victory that was far from complete.

For his part, director Mourad Cheikh told the Agence France-Presse news agency that his title "No More Fear" appeared on the walls of Tunis during the revolt. It symbolized a wall of fear, he said, that had collapsed.

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