Two films from the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection about sisters in nature on the cusp of change resonate with timeless, humanist connections.
Depicting rural life in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, House in the Fields portrays the close relationship of two sisters coming of age in their traditional Amazigh village and the upheaval of evolving sociopolitical realities. Tala Hadid’s feature is paired with Susan Through Corn, an earlier experimental work from the collection by Kathleen Laughlin. The short is another intimate portrait of two sisters but set instead in a Minnesota cornfield. Total runtime: 88 min.
Screening right here for free beginning at 10 am (CST) January 12 until January 25.
“Beautifully intimate and charged with the sense of inevitable change to come, this prescient production, embellished with minimal sound and a fantastic spectacle of celebration for an ending, makes House in the Fields well worth the journey.” —Rene J. Meyer-Grimberg, Berlin Film Journal
House in the Fields by Tala Hadid
London-born, Moroccan filmmaker Tala Hadid visited the Walker to present this work in 2017. Recently acquired to the collection, House in the Fields is a quiet and poetic documentary tracing the traditions and daily activities of two sisters as they farm, cook, and gather in an isolated Amazigh community. As the film moves through the seasons, the young women reveal parallel aspirations and trepidations about their futures. Sixteen-year-old Khadija dreams of becoming a lawyer; her older sister Fatima is engaged to be married. As modernity encroaches, Hadid’s immersive film subtly prompts questions about effects on their indigenous pastoral culture which remained largely unchanged for centuries. 2016, Morocco, 35mm transferred to digital, in Amazigh and Arabic with English subtitles, 86 min.
Susan Through Corn by Kathleen Laughlin
Local filmmaker Kathleen Laughlin’s short experimental film follows her sister on a spirited excursion through a tall August cornfield about to be harvested. 1974, US, 16mm transferred to digital, 2 min.
About the Directors
Tala Hadid is a writer, director, and photographer who made her first film, Sacred Poet, on Pier Paolo Pasolini. Her short film Tes Cheveux Noirs Ihsan (2005) received an Academy Award and won several prizes including the Panorama Best Short Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival as well as Best Film and Best Actress at the Tangiers National Film Festival, among many others. Hadid’s work has screened at MoMA, New York; L’Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; the Goteberg Kunsthalle, Sweden; the Goethe Institute/Cairo; the Los Angeles County Museum; la Cinémathèque Française, Paris; and the Photographer’s Gallery, London.
Kathleen Laughlin is a writer, director, editor, cinematographer, and producer. Between 1974 and 1980, her early personal, live-action, and animated short films, including Susan Through Corn, won awards in various festivals and were shown in New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Paul, Richmond, and Cologne. Laughlin was a member of the early 1971 Twin Cities Women’s Film Collective and has been a recipient of many production grants, including from the American Film Institute Grant, the Paul Robeson Fund, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the year-long Bush Artist’s Fellowship. She has taught at Film in the Cities, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul.