Celebrating Arab women in film
In an effort to represent and build connections between Europe and the Arab world, Bozar and Goethe-Institut are launching the project Halaqat. Halaqat brings together renowned artists and cultural actors to approach multiple social, economic, and political realities from their own perspectives. It is an attempt to pave the way for Europe and the Arab world to write a new chapter together, led by artists from both regions. The following selections of films offer a unique perspective of the past and present of Arab societies through women’s lenses. For an even more valuable experience, each screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film's director.
Text written by Lobna Morsi
Ali aux Pays des Merveilles - Djouhra Abouda
20 November, 18.00h
Djouhra Abouda, born in Algeria, arrived in France with her father at the age of five during the early 1950s. By the 1980s, she had founded the Djurdjura group where she produced music before she moved to her solo career. With Ali aux Pays des Merveilles, she created an experimental, political and radical 16mm film of the lives and experiences of immigrant workers in France throughout the 1970s. Her film addresses racism in the French state, colonialism and capitalism.
Their Algeria - Lina Soualem
20 November, 20:00h
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French-Palestinian-Algerian filmmaker and actress Lina Soualem portrays her grandparents, Aicha and Mabrouk’s experiences as immigrants from Algeria to France. The documentary captures their journey, culture and the chaos around immigrant life in a delicate and sincere way. Lina studied History and Political Science at La Sorbonne and started as a programmer in film festivals. Her documentary, Their Algeria (2019) received the Bes Doc-in-progress award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Happily Ever After - Nada Riyadh
21 November, 19.00h, Free for members
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The chaos of the 2011 revolution in Egypt left many uncertainties for Egyptians regarding the development of political change and the stability of their own lives there. Nada Riyadh co-directed the feature documentary Happily Ever After(2016), in which she captures seeing the man she loves depart to study filmmaking in the United States. The film portrays her feelings of anxiety about his departure that reflect the historical and actual meaning of political commitment. Nada focuses on women’s place in relationships, where societal and emotional frictions mirror each other.
Return to the Land of Wonders - Maysoon Pachachi
22 November, 19.00h
Maysoon Pachachi is a London-based filmmaker of Iraqi origin. In 2004, she travelled home to Baghdad for the first time in 35 years and filmed Return to the Land of Wonders there. In her film, Maysoon shows a movement between the sphere of the formal political process and the daily life of Iraqis. The film centres on Maysoon's 90-year-old father, who is returning to head the committee responsible for Iraq’s temporary constitution and Bill of rights. She discusses several topics with many people in the film; fears, aspirations, and burdens of the past and present. Maysoon continues to make documentaries and feature films around the Middle East via her independent production company, Oxymoron Films.
The Day I Lost My Shadow - Soudade Kaadan
23 November, 19.00h
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The day I Lost My Shadow centres on the start of the war in Syria. Soudade Kaadan, a Syrian director born in France portrays the gripping, panic-driven journey of Sana, a young Pharmacist who tries to buy bottled gas during the war. The story of Sana is told with hyper-realism and a trip into magic realism. Saudade studied theatre criticism at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus and filmmaking at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. The film was awarded for best debut at Venice Film Festival in 2018, as well as the jury prize at the LA film festival.