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Tenth Anniversary of the Arab Uprisings in Film

From February 05, 2021 until May 21, 2021Check dates, times and access conditions for each film.
MADRID / ONLINE
Casa Árabe headquarters and Casa Árabe’s channel on Filmin Check dates, times and access conditions for each film.
The decision on whether to hold this activity live/in person will depend upon the health situation at each time in each city. Thank you for your patience.
Films shown in the original language version with subtitles in Spanish

In the months of February and March, Casa Árabe will be showing this series of films inspired by the “Arab Spring”  in Madrid. Check the calendar of live and online sessions.

On December 17, 2010, uprisings began in Tunisia that led to the fall of Ben Ali’s autocratic regime. From January 2011 onwards, the uprisings spread across much of the Arab world, bringing about significant political change in some countries, such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Sudan. Although the political and social situation in many of these places is far from having reached the democratic ideals that drove the original protests, the popular uprisings known as the Arab Spring already form an important chapter in the region’s contemporary history.

To mark their tenth anniversary in this year of 2021, many different seminars, articles, reports, etc., will be published to commemorate those events and try to unravel the complex equation in which the region now finds itself, ten years later. That is why Casa Árabe and the streaming platform Filmin would like to help with this process of reflection, by jointly offering this retrospective series titled “Tenth Anniversary of the Arab Uprisings in Film,” with a hybrid schedule of both in-person and online film screenings.

In this special film series, we sought to bring back some of the essential titles in Arab film from recent years that give a good account of both the revolutions and the consequences they had in each country. Many of these films were included in prior film series at Casa Árabe, including “Cinema and Censorship, Cinema and Democracy?,” “A Year of Spring” and “Connected to the Amplifier,” as well as other scheduled events and the broad catalogue of movies on the Filmin streaming platform. The selection of 10+10 titles presented here is but a small sample out of the huge number of films produced about those crucial events, unparalleled in the modern history of Arab cinema.  

The euphoria of this revolutionary time experienced in the streets of so many Arab cities was immediately portrayed in cinema, which reacted with urgency to tell what was being lived. Both in these films and in others made after some time had passed, the same themes are underlying, with criticism of the political elites, abuses and corruption, while showing the yearning for freedom of expression, rarely experienced by filmmakers or everyday citizens up to that moment. Many of these films became icons of the revolution, admired all over the world, and thus graced the screens of top film festivals such as Cannes and Venice.  

These films were not made with the intention of deepening the analysis, or to make predictions about where the changes might lead, but rather to bear witness to the events experienced. A sense of jubilation permeates the tone of these films. Today, seen with the hindsight of the past ten years and in light of the dramatic developments in certain countries like Syria and Libya, for many it may already seem like a mirage. But they are undoubtedly important documents in the history of the region’s cinema.
 
Other films made one or two years after the beginning of the revolutions already took n a more cautious or skeptical tone when reacting to the difficulties faced as a result of these processes of change. These are films not only from Egypt or Tunisia, the two countries where the uprisings had the greatest media presence, but also from other countries such as Yemen, Libya, Syria or Morocco.

In Syria, where peaceful protests were harshly repressed from the outset, some films were only seen in a nearly underground manner. The civil war that has ravaged the country has meant that cinema has focused primarily on denouncing the devastating impact of violent repression and war on the civilian population. The dramatic situation of hundreds of thousands of refugees has been the subject of many socially committed works over the years.  

And, in general, what many films made more recently by Arab directors tell us about are the problems and difficulties faced by the societies in their own countries. As is well known, the outcome of the popular uprisings has been very uneven and, except in the case of Tunisia, there is not much to celebrate. The emergence of ISIS in the region, with all its apparatus of violence and repression; the confirmation of an unequal situation in terms of women’s rights and the persistence of patriarchal social customs; and the return of authoritarian and military governments which are once again imposing repression and censorship are themes in current Arab cinema often presented as side effects of the Arab Springs.

But despite the dark tone that many films display, the Arab Springs have opened the door to new approaches and new ways of telling stories with the camera. Whether documentary or fiction, many of these emerging filmmakers have brought us closer, taking the veils off of the realities of a young Arab world that wants to maintain its dynamic energy despite the enormous troubles it is going through. This is demonstrated by the uprisings in Sudan a little over a year ago or the most recent revolts, also in the heat of the tenth anniversary in Tunisia itself. Casa Árabe and Filmin have joined forces to try to ensure that the screen, whether at home or in the movie theater, remains a window from which we can enjoy the latest cinema production from these countries.
 
Tenth Anniversary of the Arab Uprisings in Film
  • Cinema | Double feature session: “Salma in the Square” and “Rouge Parole”
    A frame from “Rouge Parole”

    Cinema | Double feature session: “Salma in the Square” and “Rouge Parole”

    February 05, 20217:30 p.m.
    MADRID
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:30 p.m. 5 euros: general tickets at the box office.
    4 euros: Tickets purchased online, the officially unemployed, Casa Árabe Language Center students and Youth Card holders, by showing the proper documentation. You may only receive one discount. Advance sales at www.casaarabe.es up to the day of the screening at 12:00 p.m. Those tickets not sold online will be put on sale the day of the screening at the Casa Árabe headquarters as of one hour before each film (cash payment only). Assigned seats with tickets.

    The decision to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. Thank you for your patience.
    Films shown in the original language version with subtitles in Spanish.
    On February 5, we will be officially opening the live/in-person sessions of the film series devoted to the tenth anniversary of the Arab Spring, with the screening of these two documentaries (a short subject film and a full feature film). Buy your ticket online now.
    Salma in the Square, ABC TV (Australia, 2011, 29’) Short Subject Documentary
    At the age of 33, Salma el Tarzi has known no other leader than Mubarak. Along with thousands of protesters, Salma goes to Tahrir Square full of fear, but proud to be part of the movement for change.
    Screening held in collaboration with “Foreign Correspondent,” a program by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation / ABC-TV.

    Rouge Parole, by Elyes Baccar (Tunisia, Switzerland and Qatar, 2011, 94 min.). Documentary
    Revolution breaks out in an unexpected country, Tunisia, giving rise to a political earthquake that impacts the entire world. Rouge Parole is the story of the popular Tunisian revolution and the expulsion of President Ben Ali, told by its heroes, the people who took the first steps towards democracy in their country.
    Preview
  • Film: “Microphone” by Ahmad Abdallah

    February 12, 20217:30 p.m.
    MADRID
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:30 p.m. 5 euros: general tickets at the box office.
    4 euros: Tickets purchased online, the officially unemployed, Casa Árabe Language Center students and Youth Card holders, by showing the proper documentation. You may only receive one discount. Advance sales at www.casaarabe.es up to the day of the screening at 12:00 p.m. Those tickets not sold online will be put on sale the day of the screening at the Casa Árabe headquarters as of one hour before each film (cash payment only). Assigned seats with tickets.

    Seating is limited, and the use of masks is required at all times. The decision on whether to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. Thank you for your patience.
    Films shown in the original language version with subtitles in Spanish.
    On Friday, February 12, we will be holding the second screening in our film series about the Arab Springs, with this feature film by Ahmad Abdallah. Tickets are now being sold online.
    Microphone, by Ahmad Abdallah (Egypt, 2010, 120 min.) Documentary
    Khaled returns to Alexandria after having spent several years abroad traveling. He has a hard time understanding how his native city could have changed so much since he was last there. Wandering through the city, he discovers an underground  art world full of hip hop singers, skaters, graffiti artists, and more…
  • Film: “A Spring Tale” and “The Reluctant Revolutionary”

    Film: “A Spring Tale” and “The Reluctant Revolutionary”

    February 19, 20217:00 p.m.
    MADRID
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:00 p.m. 5 euros: general tickets at the box office.
    4 euros: Tickets purchased online, the officially unemployed, Casa Árabe Language Center students and Youth Card holders, by showing the proper documentation. You may only receive one discount. Advance sales at www.casaarabe.es up to the day of the screening at 12:00 p.m. Those tickets not sold online will be put on sale the day of the screening at the Casa Árabe headquarters as of one hour before each film (cash payment only). Assigned seats with tickets.

    Seating is limited, and the use of masks is required at all times. The decision on whether to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. Thank you for your patience
    Films shown in the original language version with subtitles in Spanish.
    An animated short-subject film and documentary will be at center stage of this new session in our film series devoted to the Arab Springs. Buy your ticket online now.  
    A Spring Tale [Conte de printemps], by Dani Abo Louh and Mohamad Omran
    (France, 2011, 5 min.).
    An animated short-subject film which pays homage to the Syrian demonstrators.

    The Reluctant Revolutionary, by Sean McAllister
    (Ireland, 2012, 70 min.). Documentary
     
    Documentary director Sean McAllister follows the everyday life of a tourist guide in Yemen, whose business comes to a full stop as a result of the protests against the regime of Ali Abdallah Saleh. McAllister shows us several days of demonstrations, above all what was referred to as the “Friday of Dignity,” when fifty-two people died.
    Preview
  • Film: “Scheherazade’s Dream”

    February 26, 20217:30 p.m.
    MADRID
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:30 p.m. 5 euros: general tickets at the box office.
    4 euros: Tickets purchased online, the officially unemployed, Casa Árabe Language Center students and Youth Card holders, by showing the proper documentation. You may only receive one discount. Advance sales at www.casaarabe.es up to the day of the screening at 12:00 p.m. Those tickets not sold online will be put on sale the day of the screening at the Casa Árabe headquarters as of one hour before each film (cash payment only). Assigned seats with tickets.

    Seating is limited, and the use of masks is required at all times. The decision on whether to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. Thank you for your patience.
    Films shown in the original language version with subtitles in Spanish.
    The final screening at Casa Árabe’s headquarters in Madrid during the month of February. We are once again presenting a documentary to continue with our film series about the Arab Springs. March will bring further films to our movie screen.
    Scheherazade’s Dream, by François Verster
    With this film by François Verster (South Africa, Egypt, France, the Netherlands and Jordan, 2014, 107 min.),

    Before, during and after what was named the “Arab Spring,” the documentary interweaves music, politics and storytelling to explore the ways in which creativity and political articulation respond to oppression. From Cairo to Istanbul, passing through Beirut, this narrative kaleidoscope helps us to take a new look at the ways in which powerful historical and cultural archetypes interact with political change.

  • Film: “Investigating Paradise”

    March 05, 20217:30 p.m.
    MADRID
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:30 p.m. 5 euros: general tickets at the box office.
    4 euros: Tickets purchased online, the officially unemployed, Casa Árabe Language Center students and Youth Card holders, by showing the proper documentation. You may only receive one discount. Advance sales at www.casaarabe.es up to the day of the screening at 12:00 p.m. Those tickets not sold online will be put on sale the day of the screening at the Casa Árabe headquarters as of one hour before each film (cash payment only). Assigned seats with tickets.

    Seating is limited, and the use of masks is required at all times. The decision on whether to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. Thank you for your patience.
    Films shown in the original language version with subtitles in Spanish.
    What conclusion is reached by young journalist Nedjma in her investigation about the concept of “paradise” in extremist propaganda? Find out during this week’s screening on the Arab Springs. Buy your ticket online now.
    Investigating Paradise, by Merzak Allouache
    (Algeria, France, 2017, 135 min.). Documentary

    Nedjma, a young investigative journalist with an Algerian newspaper, decides to take action over the increasing instrumentalization of the concept of “paradise” in extremist propaganda and calls to Jihad which Salafist preachers from the Middle East spread on the Internet. She begins to investigate the place held by paradise in the imagination of Muslims.
  • Film: “Freedom Fields”

    March 12, 20217:30 p.m.
    MADRID
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:30 p.m. 5 euros: general tickets at the box office.
    4 euros: Tickets purchased online, the officially unemployed, Casa Árabe Language Center students and Youth Card holders, by showing the proper documentation. You may only receive one discount. Advance sales at www.casaarabe.es up to the day of the screening at 12:00 p.m. Those tickets not sold online will be put on sale the day of the screening at the Casa Árabe headquarters as of one hour before each film (cash payment only). Assigned seats with tickets.

    Seating is limited, and the use of masks is required at all times. The decision on whether to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. Thank you for your patience.
    Films shown in the original language version with subtitles in Spanish.
    In post-revolution Libya, a group of women has come together to achieve the dream they all share: playing soccer to represent their country. This is the initial premise of the documentary by Naziha Arebi, which we will be screening this week at our Madrid headquarters. Tickets are now being sold online.
    Freedom Fields, by Naziha Arebi
    (Libya, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, United States, Lebanon, Qatar, Canada. 2018, 97 min.) Documentary.

    In post-revolution Libya, a group of women has come together to achieve the dream they all share: playing soccer for their country. However, that country is mired in civil war, and the utopian hopes of the Arab Spring are drifting away.
  • Film: “Hide and Seek” and “Queens of Syria”

    March 19, 20217:30 p.m.
    MADRID
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:30 p.m. 5 euros: general tickets at the box office.
    4 euros: Tickets purchased online, the officially unemployed, Casa Árabe Language Center students and Youth Card holders, by showing the proper documentation. You may only receive one discount. Advance sales at www.casaarabe.es up to the day of the screening at 12:00 p.m. Those tickets not sold online will be put on sale the day of the screening at the Casa Árabe headquarters as of one hour before each film (cash payment only). Assigned seats with tickets.

    Seating is limited, and the use of masks is required at all times. The decision on whether to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. Thank you for your patience.
    Films shown in the original language version with subtitles in Spanish.
    As part of our film series devoted to the Arab Springs, we are showing this double feature session that includes one short-subject film and a feature-length documentary. Tickets are now being sold online. 
    El juego del escondite (Hide and Seek), by David Muñoz
    (Spain, 2015, 23 minutes) Documentary short
    .
    A film crew travels to Lebanon to make a film about the game of “Hide and Seek” at a Syrian refugee settlement. Fatouma Al Hussein, a resident at the informal settlement of “Fayda 15”  is followed by the camera.  She thus journeys through the makeshift dwellings amid the ruins of a factory where a group of Syrian families have sought refuge, fleeing from the war.
    Preview

    Queens of Syria, by Yasmin Fedda
    United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, 2014, 70 min). Documentary

    Fifty women from Syria, all forced into exile in Jordan, meet in the fall of 2013 to create and produce their own version of “The Trojan Women,” a Greek tragedy by Euripides that deals with the difficult situation for women in wartime.
    Preview
  • Film: “Rags & Tatters”

    March 26, 20217:30 p.m.
    MADRID
    Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:30 p.m. 5 euros: general tickets at the box office.
    4 euros: Tickets purchased online, the officially unemployed, Casa Árabe Language Center students and Youth Card holders, by showing the proper documentation. You may only receive one discount. Advance sales at www.casaarabe.es up to the day of the screening at 12:00 p.m. Those tickets not sold online will be put on sale the day of the screening at the Casa Árabe headquarters as of one hour before each film (cash payment only). Assigned seats with tickets.

    Seating is limited, and the use of masks is required at all times. The decision on whether to hold this activity in person will depend upon the health situation at the time. Thank you for your patience.
    Films shown in the original language version with subtitles in Spanish.
    On Friday, March 26, the last live/in-person session of the film series which we have been holding on the Arab Springs will be taking place at our headquarters in Madrid. In April, more movies will be coming to Casa Árabe.
    Rags & Tatters, by Ahmad Abdalla
    (Egypt, 2013, 87 min.) Fiction

    Amid the great turmoil caused by the 2011 Tahrir Square demonstrations, an unnamed fugitive escapes from jail and desperately seeks warmth and shelter on the outskirts of Cairo.