We are delighted to have our film selected for screening at MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, in New York as part of the Films from Here program.
Films from Here provides a snapshot of contemporary filmmaking from the Middle East and North Africa through the lens of The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), an independent grant-making organization founded in 2007. While international coproductions are increasingly the norm in the industry, AFAC also posits itself as a champion of daring and impactful artistic expression in a time when limited production frameworks are exacerbated by turmoil throughout the Arab world.
The six features and two short films in this series, which were made between 2013 and 2015, emphasize a rich blend of narrative, documentary, and experimental traditions and act as a counterpoint to mass media images from the region. While these works often respond to the political and social conditions of their native countries—Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Palestine—they approach their subjects through archival research, found footage, reenactment, satire, genre, and auteurist storytelling.
OUT ON THE STREET
In an acting workshop in a working-class Cairo neighborhood, 10 men recount episodes of exploitation, humiliation, and injustice; their stories center on the privatization of a factory but invariably extend to harassment by police and Egypt’s corrupt justice system. The workers then reenact these scenarios, creating a biting exposé of worker conditions ever more effective for the immediacy of the one-room setting, which affirms itself—in the real time of the workshop—as a momentary haven from a life of precariousness. Directors Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk, members of the Egyptian video collective Mosireen, embarked on this project to move beyond what they perceive as the limitations of activist filmmaking. Departing from that process—through which they and countless others had documented protests during the Arab Spring—has allowed a different kind of document to take form in Out on the Street. The film is ultimately a work of fiction, yet one that powerfully depicts a collective experience of disenfranchisement. In a society so thoroughly rigged against its people, the film locates itself, and perhaps the role of making art, as part of global discourses around present-day capitalism and questions about what a more viable future might be. 71 min.
Organized by Sophie Cavoulacos, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film. Presented in association with The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.
Support is provided by the Ford Foundation.