Arab Cinema Now: “The Dream of Shahrazad”

Sunday | June 11 | 2:00 p.m.
* This event is free. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m.
** This series is co-sponsored by The Freer/Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian’s Museums of Asian Art.
 
Drawing on the stories known collectively as The Arabian Nights, The Dream of Shahrazad contextualizes recent upheavals across the Middle East within a broader historical and cultural legacy. A charismatic conductor uses Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade suite as a tool for political education, leading up to a final performance at Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace. A young Lebanese woman makes peace with her past by learning the art of storytelling in Egypt and becomes an Internet activist in the process. An older visual artist who is obsessed with The Arabian Nights finds his “dream of Shahrazad” manifesting in a beautiful young storyteller. An Alexandrian storyteller joins forces with a Cairo theater troupe, meeting with the mothers of martyrs of the January 25 Revolution and turning their testimonies into new storytelling performances.This richly kaleidoscopic film is at once observational documentary, concert film, political essay, and visual translation of an ever-popular symphonic and literary classic.

(Dir.: Francois Verster; South Africa/Egypt/Jordan/France/The Netherlands; 2015; 107 min.; DVD; English, Arabic, and Turkish with English subtitles)

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