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Museum of Modern Art New York presents Mapping Subjectivity. Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now, Part III

Museum of Modern Art, New York presents Mapping Subjectivity. Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now, Part III on November 1–25, 2012. As in the preceding editions, Mapping Subjectivity looks into the region’s largely unknown heritage of auteur, personal, and sometimes experimental film, highlighting kinships in sensibilities, approaches, and poetics across generations and countries. Works selected hail from Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia, and include film and video, shorts and features, documentary and fiction that reflect a diversity and richness of voices and visual languages.

Last Days in Jerusalem, 2011. Palestine/France. Directed by Tawfik Abu Wael. Courtesy Wide Management.

Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now, Part III opens on November 1, coinciding with this year’s 50th anniversary of Algerian independence, with a screening of Damien Ounouri’s Fidaï (Algeria, 2012), a documentary recounting the struggles and hardships during the war of independence, as told by Mohamed El Hadi, the director’s uncle.

This installment of Mapping Subjectivity also features titles that are considered auteur classics of Arab cinema, such as Ridha Béhi’s visionary Sun of the Hyenas (Tunisia, 1977); Mohamed Aboulouakar’s rarely screened Hadda (Morocco/France, 1984); several recently restored and digitized Super 8mm films by Ahmed Zir, shot between the late 1970s and now; and Ahmed Bennys’s astonishing documentary/animation Mohammadia (Tunisia, 1974). Myth and music are explored with evocative imagination by Eric and Marc Hurtado (Etant Donnés) in Jajouka, Something Good Comes to You (Morocco/France, 2012).

Mapping Subjectivity, Part III explores the way Arab women directors have been fearless in forging a critical voice and confronting questions of gender and sexuality, as evidenced by Algerian novelist, scholar, and filmmaker Assia Djebar’s La Nouba (Algeria, 1977); Lebanese visual artist Simone Fattal’s Autoportrait (Lebanon/France, 1971/2012); award-winning director Raja Amari’s Buried Secrets (Tunisia, 2009); and Tender Is the Wolf (Tunisia, 2006) by filmmaker Jilani Saadi. These issues are also confronted by male directors, as in the rarely seen classic My Wife and the Dog by Saïd Marzouk (Egypt, 1971) and Tawfik Abu Wael’s Last Days in Jerusalem (Palestine/France, 2011).

The overwhelming social and political upheavals that have taken place in the Arab world since 2011 have begun to inspire new approaches to filmmaking. Ala Eddine Slim, ismaël, and Youssef Chebbi’s film Babylon (Tunisia, 2012), filmed on the border between Tunisia and Libya, is an astounding meditation on the politics of humanitarian aid and international intervention; Lamine Ammar-Khodja’s Ask Your Shadow (France, 2012) chronicles a man’s return home after eight years of absence, on the eve of the outbreak of protests; and veteran Egyptian master Yousry Nasrallah’s Cannes contender After the Battle courageously imagines the immediate aftermath of a major upheaval as it affects interpersonal relations.

The exhibition is organized by Jytte Jensen, Curator, Department of Film, and Rasha Salti, Independent Curator. Presented in association with ArteEast, New York.

This exhibition is supported by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.

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