RAKASA Israel, 2006 | Doc, 73 min. Director: Iris Rubin
Original Language: Hebrew and
These women live with the glory of being a dancer and the applause of
the audience all the while struggling against the acute objection to
their profession. They must often deal with contemptible treatment
all because theirs is deemed an inappropriate profession for a respectable
and honest woman.
As if taken from Arabian Nights, the film presents, image upon image,
the lives of these women who are fighting for the simplest and yet most
profound happiness -- for the freedom that they find in dance. It reveals
a colorful world, full of poetry and rhythm; a sensual and fantastically
feminine environment. And from within this world emerges a statement
at once overtly feminist, charming and complex.
The three women that the film follows are Palestine Chatib, Orit Maftzir
and Tina Gadish.
Awards & Festivals
Best Documentary - Women`s Film Festival - Israel, 2006
Women`s Film Festival - Israel 2006
Thessaloniki DocMarket - Greece 2007
Docusur International FIlm Festival - Canary Islands, 2007
Chicago Israeli Film Festival 2007
" In this award winning
film, Rakasa, the three real life protagonists,
an Israeli, a German Israeli and a Palestinian all dancers in various
stages of their careers, discuss and interact with relatives and friends
regarding the same issues Hanan has in Hawi. The love of
dance versus the stigma of being a raqasa. It is interesting to note
that although the Palestinian woman, has the hardest time the
Israeli dancers also suffer - maybe not from living a life of
slutdom as much as just losing out in their personal life
if they want to follow their dreams. The German Israeli dancer chose
to just postpone parts of her life until the time was right. The other
Israeli dancer, Orit, on the other hand, seems to be following her dreams
at the expense of a fulfilled private life."
Three films on
Friday, 8 pm - November 18
Two films from prolific
moviemaker Duki Dror:
shot in the streets of Cairo, is a voyage to the hidden treasures of
Arabic music and to the participation of Jewish musicians. With stylishly
shot music and unforgettable back-ally jams played by Felix Mizrachi,
Zehava Ben, Abraham Salman and others, this film brings classical Arabic
music raw and captivating. Award winning film Cafe Noah is about the
Jewish musicians from Baghdad and Cairo have immigrated to Israel. They
were masters in Arabic music, but their music was not valued in the
was the one place were their music continued.
in Arabic only no English
written by Abdel-Aziz, Sameh
"The film is an Egyptian version of the award-winning film 'Cabaret'
of the 1970s, starring the American actress and singer Liza Minnelli.
The Egyptian version is set in a Cairo nightclub over the course of
one night and highlights the lives and stories of the employees and
customers of this venue. In one sub-plot, a pious Muslim waiter
Ali Allam succeeds in dissuading an Islamist extremist
from carrying out a bomb attack on the club. Generally, the film offers
insight into life in contemporary Cairo and highlights the economic
and social hardships endured by people of all classes. It also reveals
the religious contradictions in this society. Thus, the voice of moderate,
peaceful Islam is contrasted with extremism and terrorism
in the name of Islam."
and Saturday, 3 pm
"At Night they
(The DVD is in the
mail - it will arrive in time - insha'allah"
and a short
Dancing in Egypt
from an American's p.o.v.
GIZA SPRING FILM
SATURDAYS AT 3:30
rsvps reserve a chair
Giza Film Series
are movie snacks and drinks - potluck please
MARCH 19, APRIL 2,
APRIL 16, APRIL 30, 2011
SATURDAY APRIL 30,
Seventh Heaven (2007)
at 3:30 pm
about a Dervish dancer
and his issues with women and family
Aaleya al Tarab Talata
(2006) at 6 pm
a light hearted musical
dealing with the clash of 2 class systems
Atieh, Riko, Saad el Soghayar and Dina
SATURDAY APRIL 16,
The Terrorist - 3:30 pm
The Terrorist, Arabic Name: El
Erhabi - (1994)
Starring: Adel Imam
with Madiha Youssri, Salah Zolfakar,
Sherine, Ahmed Rateb ,
Ibragim Youssri, Hanan Shawki, Mohamed el Dafrawi, Said Tarabic, Mahomed
Following is an excerpt of a
blog by Marc Lynch (Abu Aardvark):
.... has this to say about Adel Imam's
most prominent role in the last decade plus: al-Irhabi (The Terrorist):
Imam runs counter to the stereotype. He speaks out against terrorism.
He played the lead in "The Terrorist," a film about a
fugitive assassin who takes refuge with a family of well-off Copts and
has to hide his distaste for their lifestyleof unveiled women and Western
music. The film was made under heavy police guard.
There's a bit more to al-Irhabi than that - it's a fascinating
story, which deserves more attention than it gets in this profile. Al-Irhabi was
produced in 1994 with private funding (probably Imam himself) as part
of the Egyptian government's anti-Islamist campaign...
...In the movie, Imam plays a terrorist who, during the confusion of
a bungled attack, ends up recovering on the couch of the kind of bourgeois,
secular family who he most hates. He realizes that he was wrong
about them, and bonds with the family over the Egyptian national
Between the two films we will have
a discussion on the movies and show short dance clips.
Feel free to come to one or two both -
but please let us know your plans
when you rsvp as we
would like to have enough chairs set up.
Hanan (Mona Zaki) is a poor orphan girl
living in a poor neighborhood. She is trying to find a job to support
herself. She finally finds a job at a beauty center owned by a rich
aristocratic lady, Nadia Safwan, who feels the pain and agony Hanan
is going through because of the hidden agony she herself is going through.
Reisha is a drummer living in the same neighborhood with Hanan. His
life turns upside down when he becomes the leader of an extremist religious
group and seeks revenge from all who insulted him in the
past. A surprise awaits them in the end.
Giza films are rsvp and movie
potluck - (movie or finger food snacks and beverages)
Hope you can join us.
SATURDAY APRIL 2,
AT 3:30 PM
A Middle Eastern
- Kung Fu Double Bill
a Turkish/Danish Feature length Film
"FOOL EL SEEN
EL AZEEM" an Egyptian Feature length Film
Next Saturday, April 2 at 3:30
The Giza Club is showing two films. Both films address many issues on
and about Middle Eastern culture and some Islamic issues but they are
also disguised as Kung Fu flicks.
The first movie shown will be "Fighter" and is actually about
a Turkish family living in Denmark and the issues involved in keeping
Muslim traditions alive. The story line is about the heroine's desire
to learn Kung Fu.
The second movie is an Egyptian comedy and the cultural issues come
out in comedic form. As only Egypt does best - this film manages to
poke fun of Egypt and things Egyptian as our hero travels to China in
a case of mistaken identity. The title "Fool el Seen el Azeem"
reminds us that Egypt likes to play with words. "Fool" can
mean "Fool" as in idiot and it can also mean "Fool"
as in Ful or a type of Egyptian bean.
A Danish film about a Turkish high school student, Aicha who is obsessed
with kung fu. Her parents want her to go to medical school and be a
doctor like her brother Ali. Defying her family, she secretly trains
at a co-ed kung fu club. This is the story of a strong-willed girl
who does not want to conform to her conservative Muslim culture which
requires her to follow the future that her father dictates.
A Danish film (2009) with English subtitles - 96 min.
Featuring: Behruz Banissi, Cyron Bjørn Melville, Denize
Karabuda, Ertugrul Yilan, Molly Blixt Egelind
Directed by: Natasha Arthy
Fool el seen el azeem
(The Great Fool of China or The Great Beans
of China) translate as you wish.
This is one of comedian Mohamed Henedi's best movies, if not the best
yet. Director Sherif Arafa insisted that Henedi lose weight for this
role, and the result is clear. The jokes are non-stop and the entire
movie is quite action-packed (including kung fu) with quite
a bit of satire, in-jokes and poking fun of Egypt and it's culture in
just the manner that Egyptians do best.
An Egyptian film (2004) first released in the United Arab Emirates with
English subtitles - 105 minutes
Featuring Mohamed Henedi, Hajjaj Abdul Azim and Soleiman
Directed by: Sherif Arafa
Opening week:EGP 1,182,519 (Egypt) (10 August 2004) (25 Screens)
Gross: $6,634,803 (Egypt) (12 October 2004)Giza events are RSVP
required - space is intimate and will need to limit attendance.
Potluck movie snacks or drinks - nothing messy please. RSVP required!
As you know - space is an issue, so rsvp soon.
If at some point your schedule changes, please be considerate enough
let us know just in case there is a "wait list".
The Giza Club and the Giza
dedicated to understanding
and promoting good will toward our Middle Eastern neighbors
SPECIAL GIZA SHOWING
SATURDAY, MARCH 19,
2011 - 3:30 pm
Due to the nature of the films
being shown and for ease of and to facilitate discussions, I am giving
first priority to people who have attended either the Mohamed Ali St.
to Ezbekiya Park workshop or either of the Shaabi workshops. Prior to
the showings, and after the first film, we will have have a short discussion
regarding the nature of the films.
They are between 17 and 40 years old, coming from all over Egypt, young
girls, wives, mothers, they dance for a living. They are the dancers
of Cairo among the popular class. At the hairdresser, in the hotel
for dancers or at home, in weddings, nightclubs, on and back stage,
the film follows them and tries to show the depth of a struggle under
the make-up and the dance. A reality far from the cliché of belly
Director: Celame Barge | Producer: Atef Hetata
Genre: Documentary | Produced In: 2007 | Country: Egypt
Running Time: 51 minutes
Under the pretense of having a wedding, Zaynhom is planning to collect
"el nu'taa" (the money) from everyone in his shaabi neighborhood
so he can buy a bus and start a new business. He uses his mother's only
savings to finance the wedding, hoping for a big return, as is the custom
at such events. Through the setting of a common neighborhood and
the wedding, this movie explores many different
issues in Egyptian society, from wedding customs, religious extremism,
drugs, and crime, to the impact on the financial crisis of ordinary people.
The many characters display tradition, contradiction, and
the paradox of daily life.
Starring Karima Mukhtar, Salah Abdallah, Hassan Husni, Mai Kassab, and
Script by Ahmad Abdallah
Directed by Sameh Abdel Aziz.
Featuring the shaabi singers Mahmoud El Hussaini and Abdel Basett
Running Time: 95 minutes
Released 2010 ?
NO subtitles - you're on your own with running commentary by Amina
Due to space and to allow ease of discussion, attendance will be limited
to first 12 people who rsvp. If you rsvp and then do not show up - that's
fine - but then your name will be removed from subsequent invitations.
Giza Club movie events are potluck - movie snacks (aka finger food)
GIZA SUMMER FILM
FRIDAYS AT 8 - JULY
16, AUGUST 20, 27 AND SEPTEMBER 3 2010
rsvps reserve a
3 at 8 pm
(2002 - One of the highest grossing films in Egyptian cinema)
This comedy stars Mohamed Saad. He is memorable in his role of the "illiterate,
inefficient, slow, stoned and drunk" loveable hero.
In our usual roughly democratic way, in discussion after the July 16
showing, we decided to make the theme of our Summer Giza Film Festival
"no theme" or rather, an eclectic mix of the old with the
new but always including Middle Eastern and Egyptian cultural references
- plus including music and/or dancing.
It is pretty hard
to find a movie, at least an Egyptian movie, without music and dancing,
because it is so much a part of their innate culture.
27 at 8 pm
A Citizen, a Detective and a Thief,
2001- On the list of Egypt's top 100 films ever made.
"It is an accomplished examination of the social circumstances
of our times,"
"Social commentary dressed as comedy" featuring Shaabi singer
Abdel-Rehim Shaaban ... Al Ahram Egyptian
DOUBLE FEATURE ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 20 at 8 pm
Between Two Notes
- a film by Florence Strauss - 2006
(running time approx. 84 min) - a documentary
From the liner notes: "What do Cairo, Tel Avivi, Beirut, Damascus
and Aleppo have in common? In today's troubled world, these cities share
a common heritage: that of classical Arab music. Filmmaker Florence
Strauss sets out from Paris in search of the roots of this timeless
art while uncovering a hidden aspect of her own identity.
This sensual road movie pays tribute to the musicians and poets who,
through their art, perpetuate a part of Middle Eastern history. An ode
to the blending of cultures, the film celebrates the generosity of a
land once associated with the Garden of Eden, Linking people,, music
and place, it establishes a new kind of spatial-temporal unity: one
of the last utopias. Between Two Notes is, above all, music from
the heart that conveys the history of our humanity in all its complexity."
In 2007 this film was shown at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
with co-sponsor Cinemayat, the Arab Film Festival. Initially both groups
received flack from their supporters, but upon viewing, the unified
audience showed that "the theme of unity and crossing boundaries"
carried the movie. Politics doesn't enter the picture as the film is
about music and musicians.
(poster of original
1937 program of Nasheed al Amal)
Nasheed al Amal (Song
of Hope) directed by Ahmad Badrakhan - 1937
(running time approx. 90 min.)
Starring the legendary Om Kalthoum. The music for
this film made in 1937, includes songs by Muhammad al-Qasabji are are
among the most Westernized Om Kalthoum ever sang.
Set in '30s Cairo, the legendary Om Kalsoum's second film has some wonderful
Divorced from her low-life husband, Amal meets Assem, a doctor, who
encourages her to embark on a professional singing and acting career.
When Assem learns that Amal has been meeting another man (her ex-husband
who is trying to blackmail her), he withdraws his offer of marriage
and sails for Alexandria... (Rose Issa/Jana Gough)
See a young Om Kalthoum act (and sing).
In Cairo 2008 a committe headed by Ahmed el Hadari approved a list of
of the 100 most important Egyptian films.
Nasheed al Amal (Song of Hope, 1937) is #2 on the list. (Al Warda al
Beida - White Rose, 1933 with Mohamed Abdel Wehab is #1 - we have a
copy in our archives but it is 1933 quality.)
Friday, July 16 at 8 pm
Dina and Hassan Hosni
(Haven't seen a Hassan Hosni movie
I didn't like)
Ebn Ezz (2001 - running time
written and directed by Sherif Arafa
This is a light comedy about the adventures of a man
born to a rich family who is kidnapped. It stars Alaa Wali Eldein, Hassan
Hosni and the dancer Dina. You've seen Dina dance, now you'll see her
act. The film includes lots of typical Egyptian scenes and examples
of how the other half lives (upper and lower). Egyptians, more that
their Arab neighbors, love to make fun and make fun of. If you haven't
had a chance to see some of Egypt's silly comedies, here's one you dance
lovers shouldn't miss. Lots of fun dance scenes.
Our first movie night featured Ebn
Ezz, a typical Cairo Formula Blockbuster - "a comedy with trashy
singer and a belly dancer". In this case, the belly dancing actress
was Dina. The movie was fun, funny and culturally current. Prior to
the feature film we showed several trailers of other Cairo Blockbusters,
most of them featuring Riko and we showed Dina in a straight dance role
from a prior Ahlan Wa Sahlan festival.
The Giza Film Festival
potluck movie snacks and drinks + rsvp required
The Giza Film Festival
Amina Goodyear and Gregory Burke
GIZA FILM FESTIVAL - Winter 2009
Fridays at 8 pm
Nov. 13, Nov. 20
Jan. 8, Jan. 15
We provide the films
You provide the movie potluck
and the rsvp - required.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13 - 8 pm
"WHATEVER LOLA WANTS" Lola (Laura Ramsey)
is struggling to pursue her dream of becoming a dancer in New York,
but the auditions are disheartening and the rejections are piling up.
On top of it all her day job as a mail carrier is beginning to look
more and more like a permanent gig. By chance, during one of many evenings
she spends commiserating with Yussef, her gay Egyptian neighbor, she's
captivated when he shows her an old video featuring the seductive belly
dancing of Ismahan, one of Egypt's biggest stars. Fate soon intervenes
again when Lola happens to meet Zach, a handsome Egyptian attending
business school in the United States. The two start a whilwind romance,
and through a series of twists, Lola finds herself in Cairo, where she
decides to track down the reclusive Ismahan for lessons. There she learns
not only the secrets of orienta ldance but also the secret of Ismahan's
mysterious past. Director Nabil Ayouch uses Lola's hilariously corn-fed
naivete as a vehicle to explore the comic misunderstandings of cross-cultural
love and the underlying prejudices of both Eastern and Western culture.
He also casts a loving eye over the glorious art of oriental dance and
those who practice it. Lola manages to win hearts and success in the
most unorthodox fashion and to open doors that would otherwise be closed
to a blonde American. Shot on sets in Moroccan studios, Whatever
Lola Wants is surprisingly effective in evoking Cairo. This modern-day,
global fairytale offers plenty of dancing, sparkling costumes, and a
rousing soundtrack - in short, it's loads of fun.
40 min. Festival version
Dubai International Film Festival, + 44 prizes at international festivals.
Most audience preference awards of any film in 3 years.)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20 - 8 pm
"THE SECRET OF THE GRAIN"
Set in the rustic port of Sete, The
Secret of the Grain follows Slimane whose growing dissatisfaction
with the shipyard job he's had for the last 35 years prompts him to
try to open his own restaurant. his dream seems out of reach, but his
contagious conviction and persistence work their way into the hearts
of his loyal but dispersed family; the four children from his first
marriage, his ex-wife, current girlfriend and her bright, outspoken
Winner of numerous awards
César Award, 2008:
Best French Film
Best Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Best Original Screenplay: Abdellatif Kechiche
Most Promising Actress: Hafsia Herzi
Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, 2007
Best Director (Eurasia Film Festival): Abdellatif Kechiche
Venice Film Festival, 2007:
Special Jury Prize (ex-æquo / tie, with I'm Not There)
Marcello Mastroianni Prize (for actor or actress in a début role):
SIGNIS Award - Honorable Mention: Abdellatif Kechiche
Nominated: Golden Lion
Louis Delluc Prize, 2007
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11 - 8 pm
- KISS ME NOT ON THE EYES"
The cast of A-list Egyptian talent includes
singer/actor Mohammad Mounir and Hanan Turk. Dunia has received
international acclaim from many film festivals but it stirred controversy
when it was screened at Cairo's International Film Festival.
The audience and critics attending the screening were divided between
those who supported and those who attacked the film. Some accused her
(Lebanese director/writer Jocelyn Saab) of defaming Egypts image
abroad by shooting scenes in Cairos slums. Others were eager to
defend her, supporting the films stance against female circumcision
and its call for intellectual freedom
"I had no messages," said Saab. "My message was to take
pleasure in seeing this film and then if you want to think, if you want
to change your mind, [if] you want to talk about it, go [ahead]."
The film follows Dunia, literally "World" (Hanan Turk) as
she discovers the worlds of poetry and dance. Both symbolize her attempts
to venture into life, breaking taboos and discovering her inner self.
Mounir plays Professor Beshir, a literaure teacher who "taught
her not to be afraid of words," as Saab described, and Walid Aouni
plays her dance instructor, who "taught her not to be afraid of
The film jumps from realism to symbolism, using dance and poetry.
Prix du public, Festival
international de films de Fribourg, Montreal World Film Festival, Dubai
International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Singapore International
Film Fetival and Cairo Film Festival
FRIDAY, JANUARY 8 - 8 pm
"WHEN THE VOICES FADE"- 2009 Premiere
When the Voices Fade is a portrait
of the Lebanese-Israeli conflict seen through the eyes of a Lebanese-American
dance instructor, Nadia, and an Israeli Defense Forces pilot, Amir.
When the 2006 war breaks out, Amir is called back to duty, for When
the Voices Fade is a portrait of the Lebanese-Israeli conflict seen
through the eyes of a Lebanese-American dance instructor, Nadia, and
an Israeli Defense Forces pilot, Amir. When the 2006 war breaks out,
Amir is called back to duty, forcing him to evaluate his moral objections
to serving again. After Nadia and Amir coincidently meet at a coffee
shop, Amirs decision to return to Israel becomes more complicated.
Amirs best friend, Eli, returns to Israel to pledge his service
to the army. Nadias sister refuses to leave her home in Beirut,
the seemingly safe-haven of Lebanon, increasing her mothers,
Leila, emotional angst. Despite the powerful voices who are in opposition
to Nadias and Amirs respective sides, they are both able
to reconcile their differences, until Beirut is bombed.
Erika Cohn, Director
On an ordinary day, the Alexandria Ceremonial
Police Orchestra arrives in Israel from Egypt for a cultural event,
only find there is no delegation to meet them, nor any arrangements
to get to their destination of Petah Tiqva. When they find their own
ride, they arrive instead at the remote town of Beit Hatikva. Stuck
there until the next morning's bus, the band, lead by the repressed
Tawfiq Zacharaya, gets help from the worldly lunch owner, Dina, who
offers to put them up for the night. As the band settles in as best
it can, each of the members attempts to get along with the natives in
their own way. What follows is a special night of quiet happenings and
confessions as the band makes its own impact on the town and the town
Eran Kolirin, Director
This witty foreign-language
film nabbed the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes Film Festival 2007
FRIDAY, JANUARY 15 - 8 pm
"JOURNEY OF DESIRE: A FOREIGN DANCER IN CAIRO"
Photos by Sherif Sonbol
In association with Farida Dance, Yasmina
has written and produced this full-length part documentary, part performance
film, directed by Sara Farouk.
Yasmina says: This film begins with my own personal journey through
ten years of dancing in Cairo, and endeavours to answer the question
I have been so frequently asked: why would a well-educated middle class
western woman, living in comfort and surrounded by family and friends,
chose to give up all that and become a dancer in Cairo? To become part
of a profession that in the Middle East is not considered respectable,
to live in an alien culture, to struggle through a maze of beaurocratic
impediments, linguistic misunderstandings and physical and artistic
challenges just to perform on a Cairo nightclub stage? It
includes a mix of footage documenting the Cairo experience,
and although it is seen through my eyes, I think many dancers the world
over will be able to find things in it they recognize and identify with.
Although Journey of Desire
is a low budget production, the makers have had the advantage and luxury
of time and inside knowledge to put this film together. It has no outside
agenda, no axe to grind, and is made by and for lovers of Egyptian dance.
Giza Awards - Best Cultural Documentary
Giza Club Summer Film
Festival - 2008
Sundays at 3 - June 29, July 12 and
Sunday June 29 at 3 pm
KarKar el Hennawy has a terrible
accident on his wedding day that renders him completely crazy.
This documentary celebrates
the newborn's crossing from a neutral gender and status into a world
of gender differentiation and family hierarchy.
few dancers other Nile Group & Ahlan wa Sahlan videoed by Amina