May 23 – 24, 2012
Anthology Film Archives 32 2nd Avenue, New York, NY (at 2nd Street)
A crucial figure in Egyptian cinema, internationally-acclaimed Ateyyat El Abnoudy belongs to a minority of Egyptian filmmakers who remained dedicated to the documentary genre throughout their entire career. Though she is mostly renowned for her feminist feature-length films from the 1980s onwards, including PERMISSIBLE DREAMS (1983), GIRLS STILL DREAM (1995), and DAYS OF DEMOCRACY (1996), this program presents three of El Abnoudy’s earlier works. Made within the boundaries of a budding genre, these three films demonstrate El Abnoudy’s early experimentation, and illustrate her subtle visual language and unobtrusive approach to capturing mundane daily activities performed by the working class in both rural and urban settings during the 1970s. All three are masterpieces of observational documentary filmmaking.
The screening will be followed by a recorded interview with Ateyyat El Abnoudy!
This program is presented as part of ArteEast’s series MAKING THE REAL: PRACTICES OF DOCUMENTATION; for more info, visit: www.arteeast.org.
All films are in Arabic with English subtitles and will be screen on both the 23rd and 24th of May, 2012.
HORSE OF MUD (1971, 12 minutes, 16mm-to-video, b&w)
In one of her earliest and most poignant works, El Abnoudy examines the primitive process of brick-making, revealing the monotonous choreography of a nonetheless meaningful social task.
SAD SONG OF TOUHA (1972, 12 minutes, 16mm-to-video, b&w)
El Abnoudy’s second film is a fascinating portrait of Egyptian street performers. The filmmaker captures the essence and unique quality of this subculture unified as much by the performers’ talents as their marginal social stature, while reflecting on the notions of performance, showmanship, and artistry.
THE SANDWICH (1975, 12 minutes, 16mm-to-video, b&w)
As children play and help prepare a meal, we witness everyday life in a small rural town that seems to have escaped the passage of time – an illusion that is shattered in the film’s final frames.
Total running time: ca. 60 minutes.
Trained at the Cairo Institute of Film and the British Film Institute in London, Ateyyat el Abnoudi has devoted herself to documentary film. She has made about sixteen full-length and short films over the past thirty years, of which the latest is Cairo 1000, Cairo 2000.