Out of the Shadows / De entre las sombras

11 March, 2022 - 14 May, 2022
Reina Sofia, Madrid

Between March 11 and May 14 2022, Reina Sofia Madrid repeats the program Out of the Shadows, curated by Courtisane in collaboration with Subversive Film for Courtisane festival 2021, complemented with work by Selma Baccar.


When exploring a cinematic history as extensive and rich as that of the Arab Mediterranean, one is faced with an exhilarating range of forms and manifestations. From the silent era up to the present, the regional cinemas of the Maghreb and the Mashriq have produced a myriad of remarkable works. Yet, when poring over the canonical historiographies of cinema, one cannot help but being struck by their relative obscurity, which is even more striking when it comes to films that have been made by women. Although there has been a notable rise of Arab female film directors in recent decades, the work of many pioneers tends to remain painfully neglected.

The aim of this program is to address this obscurity and revitalize the work of five filmmakers whose films remain overlooked and underscreened: Atteyat Al-Abnoudy, Assia Djebar, Jocelyne Saab, Heiny Srour and Selma Baccar. Coming from different backgrounds and regions, these filmmakers all started to produce films in the 1970s, at a moment of great political and cultural ferment. Often working against the grain, they set out to attend to voices and stories that were at risk of being drowned out by official History. While each of these filmmakers developed different approaches, their works explore shared themes such as memory and identity, oppression and liberation, violence and exclusion, and the social and political role of women in Arab societies and histories.

Each of these filmmakers, whose work was shown side by side at Courtisane festival 2021 for the first time, has been shaped by different traditions and realities. For the Arab woman filmmaker exists no more than the Arab woman. Accordingly, this program seeks to follow Assia Djebar’s appeal to “not to presume ‘to speak for’ or, even worse, ‘speak on’, barely speak near to, and if possible right up against.” In order to explore in depth the singularities as well as the communal resonances of the distinct bodies of work in this program, a variety of guests have been invited to speak “right up against” the films. Furthermore, an accompanying publication brings together a selection of writings and interviews which have been newly published or translated on this occasion.


This program consists of a selection of films from the period 1970-1990 which will be shown in the best available quality. This program was developed with the support of The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and CINEMATEK, in collaboration with Reem Shilleh and Mohanad Yaqubi (Subversive Film).  

On the occasion of this program, Courtisane and Sabzian have collected a series of writings and interviews in a small-edition publication.  With the support of KASK / School of Arts.    

Thanks to: Viktoria Metschl, Christophe Piette, Céline Brouwez, Mireille Calle-Gruber, Heiny Srour, Mathilde Rouxel, Asmaa Yehia El-Taher, Alexander Horwath, Regina Schlagnitweit, Tobias Hering, Mai Abu ElDahab, Ahmed Bedjaoui, Stephanie Van De Peer, Léa Morin, Mary Jirmanus Saba, Natasha Marie Llorens, Debra Zimmerman, Colleen O’Shea, Yasmin Desouki, Olivier Hadouchi, Salim Aggar, Aziz Kourta, Tewfik Abdelkader Mahi, Emma Hedditch, Louise Shelley, Matthieu Grimault, Omar Jabary Salamanca, Tamer El Said, Stefanie Schulte Strathaus and many others ...

Out of the Shadows / De entre las sombras

Sesión 1.
Assia Djebar I La Zerda ou les chants de l'oubli [La Zerda y las canciones del olvido]
March 11 - 18:00 h / April 15 - 18:00 h

Sesión 2.
Assia Djebar II La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua [La nūba de las mujeres del monte Chenoua]
March 12 - 18:00 h / April 16 - 18:00 h

Sesión 3.
Jocelyne Saab I. Mediometrajes
Les Femmes palestiniennes [Mujeres palestinas]
Madinat Al-Mawta [Egipto, la Ciudad de los Muertos]
Lettre de Beyrouth [Carta desde Beirut] 
March 17 - 18:00 h / April 21 - 18:00 h

Sesión 4.
Jocelyne Saab II. Mediometrajes
Les Enfants de la guerre [Niños de la guerra]
Beyrouth, jamais plus [Beirut, nunca más]
Beyrouth, ma ville [Beirut, mi ciudad]
March 18 - 18:00 h / April 22 - 18:00 h

Sesión 5.
Jocelyne Saab III Le Sahara n'est pas à vendre [El Sáhara no está en venta] 
March 19 - 18:00 h / April 23 - 18:00 h

Sesión 6.
Heiny Srour I Saat el Tahrir Dakkat, Barra ya Isti Mar [La hora de la liberación ha llegado]
March 25 - 18:00 h / April 29 - 18:00 h

Sesión 7.
Heiny Srour II Leila wa al ziap [Leila y los lobos]
March 26 - 18:00 h / April 30 - 18:00 h

Sesión 8.
Atteyat Al-Abnoudy I.
Mediometrajes Husan al-Tin [Un caballo de barro]
Ughniyat Touha al-Hazina [La canción triste de Tuha]
Al-Sandawich [El bocadillo]
Bihar al-’Attash [Los mares de sed]
April 1 - 18:00 h / May 6 - 18:00 h

Sesión 9.
Atteyat Al-Abnoudy II.
Mediometrajes Al-Ahlam al-Mumkinna [Los sueños permitidos]
Iqa’ al-Haya [El ritmo de la vida]
April 2 - 18:00 h / May 7 - 18:00 h

Sesión 10.
Selma Baccar I Fatma 75
April 8 - 18:00 h / April 9 - 18:00 h / May 13 - 18:00 h / May 14 - 18:00 h