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Arab Film Festival - When Arabs Danced


The mother of filmmaker Jawad Rhalib was a belly dancer. In a not so distant past, this artistic expression of feminine sensuality was labeled 'unclean' by fundamentalists. Rhalib was taught that he should be ashamed of his mother. Muslim fundamentalism has the once rich, diverse Arab culture firmly in its grip. What are the effects of this radical turnaround for dancers and artists in the Arab world? Will they continue stubbornly and fight for the freedom of speech or does a form of self-censorship seep into their work? The documentary When Arabs Danced shows how artists in the entire Arab world look for an answer to this attack on (artistic) freedom. Through some humorous clips of president Nasser’s public speeches addressing the Muslim Brotherhood about imposing on all Egyptian women the obligation of the hijab, the complexities behind a stage adaptation of Michel Houellebecq’s controversial book Submission (2015) and the many issues of gender identity in Arab societies, the film explores how Islamic fascism has suffocated the freedom, creativity and all progressive
<br />
values of the Arab society.

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