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Liberating History: The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011)

Liberating History series poster
7 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Thu October 15, 2020 - Fri October 16, 2020
7 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


Online screening of THREE DISAPPEARANCES followed by a pre-recorded discussion between filmmaker Rania Stephan and Prof. Hannah Feldman

(Rania Stephan, 2011, Lebanon, digital, 68 min)

Starting at 7 PM Central Time on October 15th, THE THREE DISAPPEARANCES OF SOAD HOSNI will be available to watch on Block's Vimeo page for a 24-hour period. Please RSVP through Eventbrite.

Followed by a pre-recorded discussion between Rania Stephan and Hannah Feldman, Associate Professor of Art History at Northwestern

About the film:
This film by Lebanese video artist Rania Stephan explores the life of famed Egyptian movie star Soad Hosni. Stephan relies entirely on images and sound from rare videotapes of Hosni’s films, produced between 1959 and 1991--once wildly popular, now mostly inaccessible–-to tell the story of her life. Hosni died in London in 2001 (by suicide, though conspiracies abound), and despite her fame, true details of her life are scarce and contested. The film explores Hosni as a sex symbol, song-and-dance queen, and tragic heroine, emphasizing changing and contradictory views on gender and sexuality in Egypt and mourning the lost mediums and modes of Egyptian cinema.

THE THREE DISAPPEARANCES OF SOAD HOSNI made available courtesy of the filmmaker.


Program begins October 15, 7PM CST



 Liberating History: Arab Feminisms and Mediated Pasts celebrates Arab women filmmakers. The films draw on archival material, Islamic visual culture, and ethnographic practice to bring a decolonial and feminist perspective to personal and national pasts. The series includes path-breaking films such as Heiny Srour’s LEILA AND THE WOLVES, which centers Arab women’s struggles in the region’s modern history, and Selma Baccar’s FATMA 75, an essay film combining history and fantasy, as well as other rare and recent selections from the Middle East and North Africa. The series will also feature two nights of short films curated by the Habibi Collective.

Co-presented by The Block Museum of Art with support from the Middle East and North African Studies Program at NU and Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
Still from THREE DISAPPEARANCES OF HOSNI SOAD courtesy of Rania StephanStill from THREE DISAPPEARANCES OF HOSNI SOAD courtesy of Rania Stephan

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at

Press Coverage

Sporadically manipulated and shrewdly edited, the work is a revisionist biopic as well as a historical epic; it reflects the trajectory of Hosni’s life and the ever-changing society in which the films were made.”
Kathleen Sachs, October 15, 2020
Girish Shambu
A striking Arab feminist film series, full of rarities from the past, is being hosted this month by the Block Cinema of Chicago. I have not been able to stop thinking about last week’s film, The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011), by Lebanese director Rania Stephan. Tantalizingly hard to define, it is a found-footage film, an experimental biopic, an essay-portrait suspended between fiction and documentary.”
Girish Shambu, October 22, 2020