Tewfik Saleh’s The Dupes 1973 Photo courtesy Typecast Films.
“Images capture our world, but they also help to create it by providing shapes and textures and informing how we engage with people, politics, and everyday life. In this film series, we bring images from the past and present to the screen, pictures of people and places in the Middle East and Africa that imagine the world we want to live in, while also reflecting the one we already know,” says Michelle Baroody, Twin Cities Arab Film Festival director.
As global borders close and millions are displaced, the Walker Cinema’s summer film series Reshaping Our World: Cinema without Borders considers the world’s restricted landscapes and people, those currently threatened by war, international intervention, and xenophobia. In solidarity with the majority Muslim countries recently targeted by US foreign policy and the immigrants and refugees from Minnesota communities, the Arab American arts organization Mizna joins the Walker to screen films from Africa and the Middle East. The program draws from the rich tradition of filmmaking in these regions — both classic and contemporary films that redefine and reshape the landscape of stereotyped representations through cinematic technique and storytelling.
Celebrating Arab, Afro-Arab, and Iranian cinema on Wednesday nights in July and August, the series will include classics such as Tewfik Saleh’s Syrian-Egyptian masterwork The Dupes (Al-makhdu’un)(1972) and contemporary films such as Musa Syeed’s A Stray (2016) as well as short films from Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan.
The Walker Cinema is a state-of-the-art, big-screen venue — enjoy a movie this week!
Reshaping our World: Cinema without Borders is copresented with Mizna, a Twin Cities nonprofit arts organization that promotes contemporary expressions of Arab American culture.
$10 ($8 Walker members, students, and seniors); Series pass for all screenings: $30
Buy tickets online or call 612.375.7600
Tewfik Saleh, The Dupes, 1973 Photo: courtesy Typecast Films
The Dupes (Al-makhdu’un)
Wednesday, July 12, 7:30 pm
Director: Tewfik Saleh
Based on Ghassan Kanafani’s short story “Men in the Sun,” Tewfik Saleh’s The Dupes follows three Palestinian exiles as they look for a smuggler to take them to Kuwait, where the promise of work and prosperity lead to a deadly race against time. Set in Iraq but shot in Syria, Saleh’s classic film captures beautiful scenery and engaging performances from its lead characters. 1973, in Arabic with English subtitles, 107 minutes.
Tanit d’Or at Carthage Film Festival 1972; nominated Golden Prize at Moscow International Film Festival 1973
Dariush Mehrjui, The Cow, 1969 Photo: courtesy International Affairs-Festival Department
Wednesday, July 19, 7:30 pm
Director: Dariush Mehrjui
Largely considered the first film of the Iranian New Wave, The Cow(Gaav) portrays villager Masht Hassan’s unraveling from reality after the loss of his beloved cow. Awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at the 32nd Venice International Film Festival in 1971, this work by director Dariush Mehrjui is a landmark of Iranian cinema that reflects the reality and hardships of life in rural Iran. 1969, in Persian with English subtitles, 105 minutes.
Nadia Shihab, Amal’s Garden, 2012 (Photo: courtesy the artist)
Stories of shifting landscapes and displacement, told through cinematic works from Libya, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria, demonstrate the effects of foreign interests and imperial projects on those living within the contested borders of the Middle East.
Director: Nadia Shihab
Amal’s Garden is an intimate and telling cinematic portrait of an elderly Turkmen couple who decide to renovate their home, an act symbolizing their commitment to continuing the long life they have led together in Northern Iraq, in the shadows of war as part of an ethnic minority. 2012, in Turkish with English subtitles, 32 minutes.
Director: Najwan Ali and Medoo Ali
At odds with the world after her father’s death, Nesma escapes to the rooftop and secretly cares for the birds he left behind. 2013, in Arabic with English subtitles, 8 minutes.
Poet of the Sea
Director: Farag Akwedir
Part of the Libya in Motion documentary series, Poet of the Sea was shot in Benghazi in 2012. The short documentary film depicts the community’s reliance on the sea, and those who catch and prepare fish for market. 2012, in Arabic with English subtitles, 5 minutes.
Director: Farag Al-Sharif
Part of the Libya in Motion documentary series, this film portrays the beauty of one mosque in Tripoli through the eyes of the building’s dedicated caretaker. 2015, in Arabic with English subtitles, 5 minutes.
Karama Has No Walls
Director: Sara Ishaq
Set amidst the 2011 Yemeni uprising, this Oscar-nominated short documentary takes on the atrocities of Juma’at al-karama (Friday of Dignity) during which peaceful protestors were shot by pro-government snipers. Marking the loss of those gunned down that day, the film provides a space for the protestors’ stories. 2012, in Arabic with English subtitles, 26 minutes.
Scottish Short Film Award at Glasgow Short Film Festival 2013; nominated Best Documentary, Short Subjects Oscar at Academy Awards 2014
The Forgotten (Al-Mansiyun)
Director: Ehab Tarabieh
With the help of a smuggler, Mustafa crosses the Israeli border into the Golan Heights, where he was forced from his home decades before. Now an old man, he is unable to remember the landscape of his former country. 2012, in Arabic with English Subtitles, 21 minutes.
Best Narrative Short Film 2012 at Doha Tribeca Film Festival (Qatar)
Jury Prize/ 2013 at Jerusalem International Film Festival (Paelstine)
Best Features Film & Best Cinematographer & Best Video 2014 at Tech-Ex Cup Contest 2014 (Shandong, Ho)
Abbas Kiarostami, Taste of Cherry, 1997 Photo: courtesy of Criterion Collection
Taste of Cherry
Wednesday, August 2, 7:30 pm
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Winner of the 1997 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Taste of Cherry is an intriguing meditation on life and death as a man on the brink of suicide searches for someone to bury his body. Abbas Kiarostami participated in the Walker Dialogue and Retrospectivein 1997. 1997, in Persian with English subtitles, 95 minutes.
Preceded by: Human Being (Al Insan)
Director: Ibrahim Shaddad
A Sudanese shepherd leaves his wife and herd to resettle in a nearby city. Shot entirely without dialogue, this experimental short’s use of sound enhances the emotional turmoil of alienation. 1994, on 35mm, no dialogue, 27 minutes.
Mizna is an organization devoted to promoting Arab-American culture, providing a forum for its expression. We value diversity in our community and are committed to giving voice to Arab Americans through literature and art.
Mizna has come a long way since 1999 when we published Volume 1, Issue 1 of Mizna – our journal of Arab American literature. With the publication of hundreds of Arab American writers later, we are proud of what we have accomplished. Besides publishing our award-winning journal, we have been honored to present to you some of the most talented Arab American artists in the visual arts, on stage, in music, and in film. As we continue to grow and gain a wider audience, we are extremely thankful for your vital support of this groundbreaking and progressive Arab American arts organization.
Mizna continues to be the only journal of Arab American literature in the United States, and is currently in libraries, museums, and on coffee tables throughout the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. It has been the focus of stories in many media outlets, including the Utne Reader, National Public Radio, the Lebanese Daily Star, Bahrain Today, and Qantara-the publication of the Institut du Monde Arabe. In 2003, we received a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Small Presses for a piece which first appeared in our journal.
In addition to the journal, we have presented six editions of our Arab Film Festival in Minnesota (the only such festival in the Upper Midwest), 9 public arts events featuring over 50 emerging writers, musicians, dancers, and visual artists, the first performance of an Arab American play in the Twin Cities with fifteen Arab cast members, and such amazing international talent as Simon Shaheen, Suheir Hammad, Hakim Belabbes, Nadia El Fani, Jack Shaheen, Raed Al Helou, Mai Masri, Iron Sheik, Elias Khoury and others.
In 2004, we opened our Mizna center, which has given us a physical home to hold meetings, classes, and events. Our group has grown from two founders in 1998, to a current board of excited and committed professionals, community members, and artists.
Mizna has been a forerunner in the Arab American arts scene and last fall we embarked on another new journey-cultural classes in which we are highlighting the expertise of our community and sharing this knowledge with others.
An important outcome of the cultural and artistic work we do is the exposure of American audiences to the breadth and depth of the current, vital culture of the Middle East and of Arabs in America. This serves to counter the daily stereotypes of Arabs that bombard Americans on a daily basis. We think it is essential to continue to remind Minnesotans, Americans, and the world, that Arabic culture did not end with the translation two centuries ago of Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights and not even a century ago with the novels of Naguib Mahfouz, rather the Arab art scene is alive and flourishing.
We thank you for your continued support of our mission: to bring Arab American arts to life, to support the vision of Arab American artists, and to reflect a depth, breadth and humanity of Arabs everywhere.