Looking for Oum Kulthum
Special Screening - Ajyal Youth Film Festival 2017
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