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Looking for Oum Kulthum

Special Screening - Ajyal Youth Film Festival 2017

للترجمة العربية اضغط على

Shirin Neshat, in collaboration with Shoja Azari / Feature Narrative / Germany, Austria, Italy, Qatar, Lebanon / 2017 / 90 min / Colour / DCP / In Arabic, English, Farsi / Arabic, English subtitles / MENA Premiere
Rated: Mature subject matter which may not be suitable for minors. Parental guidance is strongly advised.Individuals under the age of 15 are not admitted into cinemas.


It would be excessively difficult to find an icon of modern Arab culture to surpass the status of legendary singer Oum Kulthum. Born in Egypt, for half a century she was the voice of the Arab world, both for itself and for the international community. Rather than exploring a figure of such magnitude head-on, Iranian directors Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari build a scaffold to examine the “Star of the East” from a distance, thereby allowing themselves to consider issues that might not fit within standard bio-pic reportage.
‘Looking for Oum Kulthum’ is a film-within-a-film, in which a female Persian director attempts to make a film about the Arab Kulthum, encountering all the maddening obstacles of the film industry. Connected though they are as neighbours, the Arab and Persian worlds are vastly different; what the women have in common, however, is the very fact that they are women, and must operate in a world in which men place constraints upon them. It is no surprise that Neshat’s second feature-length film follows a successful and intriguing career in the art world; its reflections on the place of art in expressing the world around us are both astute and timely.

About the Director

An Iranian-born artist and filmmaker who lives in New York City, Shirin Neshat has twice won the Biennale Award: first in 1999 with her video work, then in 2009 with her first feature-length film, ‘Women Without Men’, which received the Silver Lion Award. Her art works have been exhibited in the most significant museums worldwide. She received the Crystal Award from the Davos World Economic Forum in 2014. Currently, she is directing her first opera, ‘Aida’, at the 2017 Salzburg Festival.


Shirin Neshat, in collaboration with Shoja Azari
Shirin Neshat, Shoja Azari
Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul, Bruno Wagner, Antonin Svoboda, Martin Gschlach
Nadia Ben Rachid
Production Designer
Erwin Prib
Executive Producer
Jérôme de Noirmont
Amine Bouhafa
Amine Bouhafa
Martin Gschlacht
Sales Company
The Match Factory GmbH
Production Company
Razor Film
Art Director: Attila Planegger, Halima Zniber
MC Distribution
Neda Rahmanian, Yasmin Raeis, Mehdi Moinzadeh, Kais Nashif

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