Take a Desert Trip with Sahara Film Screenings

Belfast Film Festival's Landforms series continues with a showcase of cinema from one of the world's most stunning regions

Breathe a sigh of relief film-lovers – it isn't a mirage. The early weeks of the New Year may have felt like a never-ending slog through the desert, but refuge is in sight with the latest in Belfast Film Festival's Landforms series.

Each season reflects different geographical features from around the world with four contemporary film premieres. The January season, second in the overall series, will see a showcase of cinema from the Sahara, an area unique in its expanse and climate, both physical and political.

Clash (January 19, 8pm) is a tense and technically daring thriller that places the viewer within the confines of an Egyptian police van in 2013 as post-revolution tensions boil over.

The Double Steps (January 22, 6pm) follows French artist FrançoisAugiéras' alter ego, a wandering ex-soldier, along with an assortment of pilgrims and bandits as they hunt for his fresco in the dunes of northern Mali. A mystical and surreal journey, the film offers a glimpse of West African culture not commonly seen in cinema.

Banned in its native country as 'a flagrant attack on the kingdom’s image', Nabil Ayouch's unflinching film Much Loved (January 26, 8pm) depicts the lives of four high class prostitutes in Marrakech. Their sisterhood and defiant spirit are their defences against a society that exploits and condemns them.

A Screaming Man (January 29, 6pm) is a compelling story of fatherhood shot against the backdrop of Chad's escalating civil war as personal and political tensions begin to merge. In the year of its release it won the Jury Prize at Cannes, being the first film from sub-Saharan Africa to compete for the festival's top awards for 13 years.

All screenings take place at Belfast Film Festival's Beanbag Cinema on Donegall Street. For more information visit www.belfastfilmfestival.org.