Spring 2018 Film Series -The Artists

1ST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH
7PM
Location: TBA

Free and open to the public
All films have subtitled or spoken English

Films 

Going Up The Stairs  (2/7)
The Tentmakers of Cairo (3/7) 
Sonita (4/4)
The Play (Oyun) (5/2)

 

February 7

Going Up The Stairs

Click here to watch trailer

From the The Torch Films Synopsis-

Warm, revealing and often surprisingly funny, Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami's portrait of an unlikely artist shows us that true talent will refuse to be stifled and you don't need an education to channel your emotions into art. Akram is an illiterate 50 year old Iranian woman who became a painter unexpectedly when her young grandson asked her to work on a drawing; that simple act tapped into an explosion of powerful, primitive and colorful paintings, which she hid under the carpet from possibly disapproving eyes. She finally tells her Western educated children about her work and they arrange for her to have an exhibition in far-off Paris. The only hitch in this plan is that Akram must obtain permission from her husband - who she married when she was 8 and he was in his 30s - in order to attend. Their comfortable bickering covers up Akram's frustrations and fears that her chance for recognition of her magical talent lays completely in the hands of this conservative and traditional Iranian man. An inspiring resource for courses on contemporary Muslim and Islamic studies, women's studies, art and more.

Director 
Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami

Country of Origin 
Iran

Language 
French, Persian (English Subtitles)

Year/ Length 
2012/ 52 min

Presenter 
TBA

March 7

The Tentmakers of Cairo

Click here to watch the trailer 

From Documentary Educational Resources

The Tentmakers of Cairo offers unprecedented access to a small community of talented craftsmen, known as tentmakers, who practice the uniquely Egyptian art of Khayamiya, or hand stitched appliqué. In a small covered market, in the heart of Old Islamic Cairo, four tentmakers expertly stitch ornate Islamic designs, as their centuries-old craft collides with a 21st century revolution.

Historically, Khayamiya was used to decorate the interiors of tents, and is an important part of Egypt's living heritage that dates back to the time of the Pharaohs. However, in a more modern, tourist-friendly incarnation, today's artisans create wall-hangings and cushion covers. The film provides access to the techniques and practices surrounding this traditional art, as well as its changing audience as the tentmakers travel to the USA and France to showcase their work in quilting exhibitions. Abroad, the tentmakers find new attention and customers, and bemoan the lack of respect for their work in their own country.

Spanning three turbulent years, from Egypt's January 2011 revolution ending President Mubarak's 30-year rule to the June 2014 election of Abdel Fatah al Sisi, viewers experience the revolution through the eyes of these Egyptians. With tourism at a standstill, the tentmakers struggle not only to maintain their culture and craft, but also to survive.

Director
Kim Beamish

Country of Origin 
Australia/Egypt

Language 
Arabic (English Subtitles)

Year/ Length 
2015/ 100 min

Presenter 
TBA
 

April 4

Sonita

Click here to watch the trailer 

From the Gaurdain

Like many other 18-year-old girls, spirited Sonita Alizadeh wants to be a star and rap about her life. In her dreams, Michael Jackson and Rihanna are her parents and she’s free to pursue her recording career. In reality, as revealed in this wrenching, delicately told documentary, she’s a refugee from Afghanistan living in exile in Tehran, whose while her family back home are arranging to sell her off in matrimony for $9,000. If she won’t go along with the plan, they will beat her until she does, like the families of so many of her friends at the Tehran centre for refugee girls.

Her mother is willing to give her a six-month stay of execution if someone like the centre or even the film-makers themselves – like so many Iranian films, this one also operates on a meta level – agree to pay $2,000.

What’s especially laudable is that the film never oversells her talent: there are scenes of recording industry professionals coolly assessing her work, and telling her she has a lot to learn. But the kid is a force of nature, and it’s impossible not to be swept along by the powerful tide of her story.

Director 
Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami

Country of Origin 
Germany/Switzerland

Language 
English/Persian/Dari

Year/ Length 
2015/ 90 min

Presenter 
TBA

May 2

The Play

Click here to watch the trailer 

From the New York Magazine-

Turkish director Pelin Esmer’s portrait of a group of women in a remote Anatolian village who perform a play based on their life experiences is boisterously insightful, hilarious and socially relevant in equal measure, and the perfect antidote to today’s crop of dryly crusading, good-for-you documentaries. Esmer follows nine very different peasant women, part of a small local theater troupe formed with the help of the local school principal, as they rehearse a bitterly comic piece depicting the grueling nature of their lives. The women not only play each other, they also perform the parts of all the men, including their husbands. The catch? Those very same men are also part of the village audience that will be viewing this play. Approaching her subjects without any hint of condescension, Esmer is smart enough to let her fly-on-the-wall camera do the heavy lifting, showing us the profoundly brave nature of these women, who work on their play even as they go about their backbreaking daily chores. Not to be missed.

Director 
Pelin Esmer

Country of Origin 
Turkey

Language 
Turkish

Year/ Length 
2006/ 70 min

Presenter 
TBA

 

 

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