Arabic Film Night
´In the Shadow of a Man’ – A Film Night about Women in Post-Revolutionary Egypt
Around a 60 people made their way to theater De Uitkijk in Amsterdam on 10 October. Not surprisingly perhaps, as the screening of the acclaimed documentary ‘In the Shadow of a Man’ would take place. With a diverse and knowledgeable panel that would discuss the points the movie addressed, the evening took us on a personal journey, exploring the question of what it means to be a woman in Egypt.
That the documentary impressed the audience, became quite clear when – for the duration of the film – you could hear a pin drop in an authentic and fully packed cinema. When eventually the outro faded away, questions like “what is it like to live your life as an Egyptian woman in the aftermath of the Revolution?”, “does the documentary portray the daily lives and common experiences of the women fairly?”, and “has the Revolution changed the lives of these women for the better, or not?”, were touched upon by the panel. Combined with a thoroughly engaged audience, a lively discussion ensued.
The evening was moderated by Eftychia Mylona – a PhD-candidate at Leiden University. She outlined the political and societal context of the time these women grew up in. To illustrate, she mentioned the farmer demonstrations in 2001 that took place prior to the Egyptian Revolution, pointing out demonstrating was certainly not uncommon.
Our colourful panel was filled by experts such as Dr. Jacinthe Assaad, an Egyptian feminist, writer and scholar, who highlighted the need to maintain critical, when looking at the representation of Middle Eastern and Muslim women in film because it often plays into stereotypes of them as oppressed. Besides that, Dafne van Baarle, a public speaker and expert on the Arab world, emphasized the importance of story-telling by women themselves. Our last speaker, Umayya Abu-Hanna, a writer, journalist and an expert on cultural and political identity, related the political developments in Egypt to broader changes throughout the Middle East, pointing out its part of a much larger pattern. Therefore, she argued, that you should look at Egypt in context rather than on its own.
The evening came to an end with a drink and a bite at the Balie, where discussions continued.