Tamaas/Earth Arts Justice, ArteEast, and Maysles Documentary Center present nine films by Egyptian/French poet and filmmaker Safaa Fathy that offer a window into Fathy’s expansive body of work and practice. Present in her films as both poet and documentarian, Fathy deftly and tenderly brings to light searingly raw elements of life, religion, and society—sometimes in little known pockets of the world—through an intimate and reflective lens that reveals the subtle and complex depths of human psychology. Join us on this journey.
Films are available online from September 16 – October 31
These films are presented alongside three virtual live streamed events with Safaa Fathy in conversation with esteemed artists, thinkers and educators.
On Tuesday, September 22nd at 6pm EDT, the Maysles Documentary Center hosted a discussion between Kay Dickinson & Safaa Fathy focused on filmmaking.
Kay Dickinson is a professor of cinema at Concordia University in Montreal. Her most recent publications include Arab Cinema Travels: Transnational Syria, Palestine, Dubai and Beyond (2016) and Arab Film and Video Manifestos (2018). Her research is dedicated to thinking through how various media function amid and in resistance to the machinations of transnational global capital.
On Sunday, October 4th at 3pm EDT, Tamaas/Earth Arts Justice will host a discussion between Mona Kareem and Safaa Fathy with an emphasis on poetry.
Mona Kareem, a poet, translator and currently Princeton University’s Translator in Residence, will be talking to Safaa Fathy about the relationship between poetry and film in Hidden Valley and a few other shorts in the program.
On Sunday, October 25th at 3pm EDT, ArtEast will host a discussion between Safaa Fathy & Sherine Hafez, exploring questions of ethnography and documentary, and the role of revolutionary women in Egypt in relation to Tahrir: Raise, raise your voice!
Sherine Hafez is Professor and Department Chair of Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is the Co-Editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (JMEWS) and served as President for the Association of Middle East Anthropologists (AMEA). Hafez’s research focuses on Islamic movements and gender studies in Arab and Middle Eastern cultures. Her new book Women of the Midan, The Untold Stories of Egypt’s Revolutionaries (Indiana University Press, 2019) discusses Egypt’s revolutionary women and gendered corporeal resistance in the Middle East.
Safaa Fathy is an Egyptian/French poet, documentary filmmaker, playwright, and essayist. Born in Egypt, she moved to France in 1981 and obtained her PhD from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1993. She was Program Director at the International College of Philosophy from 2010-2016. Fathy is the author of the plays Aquarius, in Sillas en la frontera, and Ordalie/Terreur (with an introduction by Jacques Derrida), and co-author with Jacques Derrida of Tourner les mots: au bord d’un film. Her books of poetry include Revolution Goes Through Walls (SplitLevel) and A Name to the Sea (Dar Al Nahda). Her films include Mohammad Saved from the Waters, Derrida’s Elsewhere and a film poem Nom à la mer. Her most recent essays are Au nom de la Murale (Europe N. 1053-1053) and De mur en mur (rue Descartes N.92). Other than Egypt and France, she has lived and worked in Germany, Mexico, and the United States.
A daughter removed from her parents’ arms. Things thrown into the water. A boy telling how he was hit by Daesh. Searching among the shards of destroyed homes. A shoe. A man hovering in shock. Refugee becomes a nimble, emotive, and above all human concept in this film on Iraqi-Kurdish camps. Coming to know, without possibly knowing. Coming to see, without the eyes to see, what happened then, what’s happening now.
As if wandering through someone’s blurred memory, the camera captures dreamlike flashes through faded colors and imperfect images. The sea and the desert replace a house as the setting for a doll, a plate of oranges, a thrown coat and other objects. In this poetic film, spoken word poetry is not there to complement the visual image. Instead, each is a standalone monologue, but when seamlessly woven together, they initiate a dialogue that creates a whole new text.
Featuring edited but not finalised footage from the Egyptian Revolution that erupted in the streets of Cairo in early 2011, Tahrir: Raise, raise your voice! is Safaa Fathy’s visual diary of the jubilance, chaos, anger, frustration, and indomitable hope that took hold of the streets and squares of the city over the course of eighteen days before the deposed president Husni Mubarak stepped down. We see protestors at every corner, at times speaking to the camera, to the world, to one another, then drowning in chants and singing folkloric political songs. “Ah ya Masr! (Oh, Egypt!)” reverberates and floats like a sheltering cloud above the sea of those seeking the promise of freedom. Tahrir: Raise, raise your voice! is a view from the passenger seat of a rugged ride traversing through crowded alleyways, en route to rebirth.