Written by Tom Little
Another week, another What’s On packed with stimulating Middle Eastern events in London. This week is looking especially busy with a series of exciting talks and reading at the Southbank Centre’s Poetry Parnassus, and elsewhere there are some fine Arabic film screenings and plays to keep you entertained.
As ever, drop us a line at tom (at) sugarstreetreview (dot) com if you would like your event included on this page in the future.
Monday 25th June
Cinema double bill: Outside the Law and Free Men – Riverside Studios, London
Outside the Law: After losing their family home in Algeria three brothers find themselves scattered across the globe. One joins the French army, another becomes a leader of the Algerian Independent Movement whilst the last tries to make his fortune in the clubs and boxing halls in Paris. Fate is to play a hand and the brothers’ paths diverge towards radical politics and violent crime.
Free Men: In German-occupied Paris during WWII young unemployed Algerian Younes (Rahim) earns his living as a black marketer. Arrested and put under pressure by the French police he agrees to spy on the Paris Mosque. This is to have a profound impact on his beliefs.
Tickets from their website here.
Wednesday 27th June
Death Tunnel – Greencoat Place, London
Arts Canteen and The Cordoba Foundation present Death Tunnel, a special screening and panel discussion exploring the true stories of Gazans, who living under siege, dig tunnels in order to work and live.
Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion with the documentary film maker Mohammed Harb, Maysoon Pachachi, founder of Baghdad film school and Oliver McTernan, director of Forward Thinking.
Details can be found here.
Alternative Geographies: Arabic and Francophone Poetry from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe – Southbank Centre, London
In this rare event, leading contemporary poets from the Middle East, Africa and Europe present an evening of poetry in Arabic and French. Settle in with a cup of steaming Moroccan mint tea and watch the sunset over the Thames whilst listening to poetry in two of the most beautiful languages.
The Event will be in Arabic, English and French. Details can be found here
Romeo and Juiet in Baghdad – Riverside Studios, London
Taking Shakespeare’s timeless tale of tragic young love, Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad relocates the doomed lovers amidst the sectarian strife of modern-day Baghdad.
The play will also be showing on 28 June, and for more information please take a look at Riverside Studios’ website.
Thursday 28th June
Arabic Poetry and Translation – Southbank Centre, London
How do two different poetic traditions speak to each other through translation? What is lost and what is gained in the process of translating poetry and does the poet-translator’s voice reshape the intentions of the original poem? These and other questions are discussed by poets and translators Dhabiya Khamis (Qatar), Khaled Mattawa (Libya) and Iman Mersal (Egypt). Hosted by Alexandra Büchler.
Banipal Book Club: Gold Dust, by Ibrahim Koni – Gough Square, London
During the second meeting of the Book Club on 24 May, 2012, Ibrahim al-Koni’s Gold Dust was selected as the third book for discussion.
Gold Dust is a powerful tale of the spiritual relationship between a man and his camel, set among the Tuareg communities of the Libyan Desert and depicting the clash of nature and civilisation.
Details from the Arab-British Centre here.
Friday 29th June
Do You Speak English? - Southbank Centre, London
Moroccan artist Bouchra Khalili has always been puzzled by the fact that the iconic film Casablanca, which is set in her own birthplace, shows people of all nationalities speaking only English, as if that were their native language. And, needless to say, there is not a word in Arabic, and no Moroccan characters.
This class provides a short exploration of language in films, with a specific focus on Western movies set in or shot in Morocco, such as the Hollywood classics The Prince Who Was A Thief by Rudolph Maté, The Man Who Would Be King by John Huston, as well as Casablanca by Michael Curtiz.
Click here for tickets.
Saturday 30th June
The Language of Reality – Southbank Centre, London
Bouchra Khalili, in collaboration with Marie-Pierre Duhamel-Muller, explores deliberate inaccuracies in the representation of Arab languages and dialects through contemporary Western cinema, with a special focus on The Source (2011), a Franco-Moroccan-Italian co-production directed by Radu Mihaileanu. Set in a remote village in Morocco, it tells the story of women who go on a sex strike in protest at their duties and living conditions. The film includes a trans-Arab cast, with Palestinian, Algerian and French actresses of Tunisian and Algerian descent. In this social comedy, each of the actors speaks Moroccan Arabic in the accent of their own country.
The second part of the class focuses on Italian and Chinese cinema in which local dialects are mostly absent, which in the case of Chinese cinema is for political reasons.
Tickets can be bought here.
Sunday 1st July
International Poetry Fair: Banipal Celebratory Reading - Southbank Centre, London
Founded in 1998, Banipal is an independent literary magazine publishing contemporary authors and poets from all over the Arab world in English translation.
More details on the Southbank Center’s website here.