Synopsis by Mark Deming
A young woman is caught in the middle of differing perspectives on culture and feminism in this documentary from director Ibtisam Mara'ana. Duah is a beautiful young woman of Druze Arab descent living in Jerusalem. Duah has begun using her good looks to her advantage, competing in local beauty pageants and winning first place in the "Lady of the Arabs" competition. Many have suggested that Duah move on the Miss Israel contest, which offers lucrative prizes to winners and has helped a number of competitors move on to successful careers in modeling. However, for Duah there's one major obstacle -- the Miss Israel contest features a mandatory swimsuit event, and Muslim edicts regarding female modesty forbid her from revealing so much of herself in public. Should Duah turn her back on her faith and the wishes of her family in the interest of furthering her career? And is a swimsuit contest an example of women being exploited for their bodies, or a symbol of freedom of expression in a part of the world where women struggle to be heard? Lady Kul El Arab was an official selection at the 2009 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.