Issues

An Issue is a compilation of texts and translations relating to a specific director, film or theme.

ISSUE
15.12.2021
EN
Compiled by

On the occasion of the State of Cinema 2021, held by Nicole Brenez on 23 December 2021, Sabzian presents a small Dossier on the French film historian, scholar and curator, compiled in dialogue with Brenez herself. This compilation comprises texts on Theodor W. Adorno’s view on cinema, Harun Farocki, Marylène Negro, The House Is Black by Forough Farrokhzad, on the filmic correspondence between Jonas Mekas and José Luis Guérin, a keynote speech on the state of political cinema today, and an exclusive English translation of Brenez’s piece on René Vautier.

ISSUE
21.07.2021
EN
Compiled by

Atteyat Al-Abnoudy (1939-2018) was born into a family of labourers in a small village along the Nile Delta. A child of Nasserism, she studied law at the University of Cairo while supporting herself financially by working as an actress and assistant director at the theatre. At the beginning of the 1970s, she decided to study film at the Cairo Higher Institute of Cinema, where she created Horse of Mud, which was not only her first film but also Egypt’s first documentary produced by a woman. Her graceful focus on the disadvantaged and the unrepresented in Egyptian society would earn her the nickname “the poor people’s filmmaker”, but it also enkindled a confrontation with censorship. Despite its limited circulation, Horse of Mud went on to win numerous international prizes, after which Al-Abnoudy made her graduation film, The Sad Song of Touha, a portrait of Cairo’s street entertainers — which she created in collaboration with her husband, poet and song- writer Abdel Rahman Al-Abnoudy. She continued her studies at the International Film and Television School in London until 1976 and persisted to document the daily lives and struggles of economically and socially marginalized groups in Egypt, while exposing the structural inequalities within the socio-economic system.

ISSUE
19.05.2021
EN

Selma Baccar was born in Tunis in 1945. At the age of 21, she began to create films with other women at the Hammam-Lif amateur film club. Her first short film, made in 1966, was a black-and-white film called The Awakening that tackled women’s emancipation in Tunisia. She moved to Paris to study film at the Institut de Formation Cinématographique (IFC), after which she worked as assistant director for Tunisian television. In 1975, Baccar directed her first feature film titled Fatma 75, which is considered to be the first feature film directed by a woman in Tunisia. In this “analytical film”, as Baccar has defined it, three generations of women and three forms of awareness are related — the period between 1930 and 1938 and the creation of the Union of Tunisian Women; the period between 1939 and 1952, which marks the relationship between the national struggle for independence and the women’s struggle; and finally, the period after 1956 to the present, concerning the achievements of Tunisian women with regards to the Code of Personal Status. Baccar’s activism for Tunisian women’s rights led her to an active political career.

ISSUE
28.04.2021
EN
Compiled by

Born in 1945 in Beirut, Heiny Srour studied Sociology in Beirut and went on to study Social Anthropology at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1969, while pursuing a PhD on the status of Lebanese and Arab women and working as a journalist for AfricAsia magazine, she discovered the struggle of the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf. Determined to make a film about this feminist movement, she spent two years doing intensive research and finding the necessary funds before setting out to Dhofar. The Hour of Liberation was completed in 1974 and selected at Cannes Film Festival, making Srour the first woman from the Third World to be selected at the prestigious international festival. In her next film, Leila and the Wolves (1984), she unveiled the hidden histories of women in struggle, in particular in Palestine and Lebanon, by weaving an aesthetically and politically ambitious tableau of history, folklore, myth and archival footage. Since initiating a feminist study group in Lebanon in the early 1960s, Srour has been vocal about the position of women, in particular in Arab societies, to this day.

ISSUE
07.04.2021
EN
Compiled by

Jocelyne Saab (1948-2019) was born and raised in Beirut. After completing her studies in economic sciences at the Sorbonne in Paris, Saab was invited by poet and artist Etel Adnan to work as a journalist. War came to Saab’s native Lebanon in 1975, and that same year saw the beginning of Saab’s filmmaking career with Lebanon in a Whirlwind, an account of the various forces and interests behind the incipient conflict. The war would last another 15 years, and Saab’s chronicling of its horrors — particularly in her remarkable “Beirut Trilogy” — is unequalled in both its ethical integrity and emotional impact. In 1985 she directed her first fictional work, A Suspended Life (1985), set in the same war-torn Beirut she had documented ten years prior. After the war reconfigured the whole country, in Once Upon a Time in Beirut (1994), Saab tried to rescue the cinematographic memory of the Lebanese capital in the same year that cinema turned 100 years old. Until her death in January 2019, Jocelyne Saab remained devoted to what she called her “two permanent obsessions: liberty and memory”.

ISSUE
31.03.2021
EN
Compiled by

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 Out of the Shadows film programme, originally conceived for the Courtisane festival 2020 in Ghent, was intended to address this obscurity and revitalize the work of a diversity of filmmakers whose films remain overlooked and barely screened. Five of these filmmakers are presented in this Dossier: Atteyat Al-Abnoudy, Selma Baccar, Assia Djebar, Jocelyne Saab and Heiny Srour. In the words of Assia Djebar: “All of us, all of us who come from the world of women in the shadows, are reversing the process: at last it is we who are looking, we who are making a beginning. ”

ISSUE
31.03.2021
EN
Compiled by

Assia Djebar (1936-2015) was the first Algerian woman to attend the École normale supérieure de jeunes filles outside Paris. Between the ages of twenty and thirty, she wrote four novels. But in the mid-1960s, she decided to abandon writing in French, the language of Algeria’s colonizer. Cinema offered her new ways to approach language as well as the world of the women in her home region. To film The Nouba of the Women of Mount Chenoua in 1975-77, Djebar went back to the mountain of Chenoua in order to listen and give voice to the oral histories as transmitted by otherwise silenced women. In 1980, she resumed her career as a writer with Women of Algiers in Their Apartment, a collection of stories expressing Algeria’s collective memory through polyphonic narratives by female voices. For her final film, The Zerda or the Songs of Oblivion (1978-1982), she spent two years sifting through archival footage shot by French colonizers in the first half of the twentieth century, weaving it into an alternative vision of the history of the Maghreb. As Djebar grew to be one of the most important figures in North African literature, she continued to raise the issue of women’s language and the circulation of women’s voices, all the while developing what she has termed her “own kind of feminism.”

ISSUE
17.02.2021
EN
Compiled by

Farrebique ou les quatre saisons (1946), the first full-length film by Georges Rouquier, depicts the everyday life of a family of French farmers in the postwar period following the rhythm of the different seasons, evading the classic division between fiction and documentary, allowing the reality of details to thrive with a great sense of poetry. The controversy around the film brought into sharp focus the limitations and paradoxes of some of the denominators that have been used ad nauseam to divide and evaluate the cinematic landscape: documentary and fiction, authenticity and duplicity, asceticism and artfulness. This Dossier, comprising a long interview with Rouquier, a reflection on the polemic at the time, and texts by André Bazin, Jean Painlevé, Georges Sadoul and James Agee, presents a portrait of the “case of Farrebique”.

ISSUE
20.01.2021
EN
Compiled by

Al-mummia [The Mummy] (1969) is the only full-length film by the Egyptian screenwriter, costume and set designer, and filmmaker Shadi Abdel Salam (1930-1986), which is also known by its alternative English title The Night of Counting the Years. Finding inspiration in a historical event that took place in 1881, on the eve of British colonial rule, when it was brought to light that a tribe had been secretly raiding the tombs of the Pharaohs in Thebes, the filmmaker rigorously crafted a haunting meditation on identity, loss and legacy. This small dossier brings together a selection of conversations with and writings on Abdel Salam, as well as the complete screenplay of Al-mummia and some of the drawings that he sketched in preparation for the film.

ISSUE
06.05.2020
EN
Compiled by

This Dossier aims to trace the development of Hong Sang-soo’s remarkable body of work through a collection of essays and interviews that were written and published between 2003 and 2018. Assembled here for the first time, they give an enlightening insight into his cinematic universe, which keeps expanding as a variety of variations on an aphorism that he himself has sketched out in one of his drawings: infinite worlds are possible.

ISSUE
29.01.2020
NL
Samengesteld door

In samenwerking met Goethe Institut Brussel publiceert Sabzian voor het eerst een tiental Nederlandse vertalingen van de Duitse filmcritica Frieda Grafe, de “Königin der deutschen Filmpublizistik”. Grafe noemde haar kritieken treffend “beschreven films” omdat ze zich concentreerde op het voor de lezer inzichtelijk en levendig maken van haar manier van kijken naar films. Haar stukken trachtten de wereld van een film voor de lezer open te vouwen, doorzichtig te maken. “Ik probeer de algemene kleur van een film voor de lezer te reconstrueren uit mijn indrukken en inzichten om hem of haar zelf tot conclusies of veronderstellingen te brengen.”

ISSUE
11.09.2019
NL Ma vie filmée
Samengesteld door

Boris Lehman is al meer dan vijftig jaar een uitzonderlijk figuur in de Belgische filmcultuur. In zijn autobiografische oeuvre brengt hij zijn eigen leven en dat van de inwoners van zijn stad Brussel in kaart. Lehman onderneemt in zijn films pogingen om zijn eigen cinema te definiëren, een queeste die leidde tot een oeuvre van zo’n vijfhonderd films. Hetzelfde doet hij in teksten waarin hij zich bijzonder helder uitspreekt over zijn eigen werk en die tevens gelezen kunnen worden als een ode aan cinema. Dit dossier bundelt enkele van deze teksten: een aantal conversaties met Boris Lehman en stukken waarin hij reflecteert op het werk van anderen.

ISSUE
11.09.2019
Mijn gefilmde leven FR
Compilé par

Boris Lehman est depuis plus de cinquante ans une figure exceptionnelle dans le paysage cinématographique belge. Son œuvre autobiographique rend compte de sa propre vie ainsi que celle des habitants de la ville de Bruxelles. Dans ses films, le réalisateur tente de définir cinéma – quête qui l’a conduit à construire une œuvre d'environ cinq cents films et à rédiger de nombreux textes où il s’exprime sur son propre travail et qui peuvent également être lus comme une ode au cinéma. Ce dossier réunit certains de ces écrits, quelques conversations avec lui ainsi que des réflexions sur le travail d’autres réalisateurs.

ISSUE
29.05.2019
EN
Compiled by

At the turn of this century, the Chinese documentary maker Wang Bing entered film history when he boarded a freight train with a small rented DV camera and started filming the industrial district of Tiexi in northeastern China. This Dossier aims to trace Wang Bing’s trajectory by way of a series of writings and interviews, published between 2009 and 2018, accompanying the ongoing ventures of a filmmaker who has taken on the invaluable task of weaving a map of this other China, to film the trials and tribulations of a land in flux.