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Liberating History: Arab Feminisms and Mediated Pasts

Liberating History 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 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 

Screenings October 8 – 31, 2020

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October 8-9, 2020

LEILA AND THE WOLVES
(Heiny Srour, 1984, Lebanon/UK, digital, 93 min)

Starting at 7 PM CST on October 8, LEILA AND THE WOLVES will be available to watch on The Block's Vimeo page for a 24-hour period.

Followed by a pre-recorded discussion between Heiny Srour and Rebecca C. Johnson

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October 15-16, 2020

THE THREE DISAPPEARANCES OF SOAD HOSNI
(Rania Stephan, 2011, Lebanon, digital, 68 min)

Starting at 7 PM CST on October 15, THE THREE DISAPPEARANCES OF SOAD HOSNI will be available to watch on The Block's Vimeo page for a 24-hour period.

Followed by a pre-recorded discussion between Rania Stephan and Hannah Feldman.

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October 22-23, 2020

FATMA 75
(Selma Baccar, 1975, Tunisia, digital, 60 min)

Starting at 7 PM Central Time on October 22nd, FATMA 75 will be available to watch via a Block live video stream, followed by Q&A. It will be available to view for an additional 24-hour period.

Followed by a live discussion between Florence Martin, scholar of Maghrebi women's cinema, and NU candidate in the Department of Political Science Issrar Chamekh

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October 29-30, 2020

PRESENT FUTURES: SCI-FI AND SOCIAL ECOLOGY
(Various Artists, 2009-2019, Various Countries, digital, approx. 82 min)

PRESENT FUTURES is a program of short films from Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and their diaspora, guest curated by Róisín Tapponi of the Habibi Collective.

Starting at 7 PM CST on October 29, the program will be available to watch on The Block's Vimeo page for a 24-hour period.

More info

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 October 30-31, 2020

INHERITED MEMORY: BLOOD RUNS THICKER THAN WATER
(Various Artists, 2009-2019, Various Countries, digital, approx. 78 min)

Starting at 7 PM CST on October 30, "Inherited Memory" will be available to watch via a Block live video stream,  followed by Q&A. It will be available for a 24-hour period.

Followed by a live discussion between Róisín Tapponi, founder and curator of the Habibi Collective in the U.K., and  series co-curators Simran Bhalla and Malia Haines-Stewart.

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"These five screenings offer an extraordinary encounter with Arab cinema across national borders, spanning previously unavailable landmark features and shorts from the 1970s to the present. The series explores personal and political histories, challenging accounts that have omitted feminist and decolonial perspectives. By presenting this series online, we have the opportunity to engage major filmmakers in conversation, including Heiny Srour and Rania Stephan, as well as special guests like the Habibi Collective and interdisciplinary scholars from Northwestern’s campus, the U.S., and abroad. Our hope for this series, which is available to view worldwide, is that these films receive the audience and interest they deserve."

– Series curators Simran Bhalla, Block Museum of Art 2019-2020 Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow and Malia Haines-Stewart, Block Museum Associate Film Programmer