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Women’s Cinema from Tangiers to Tehran

Sunday, March 22, 2009
2:00 p.m. I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her Grave
Hala Al-Abdallah, Ammar El-Beik (France/Syria, 2006)

(Ana alati tahmol azouhour ila qabriha). “It’s better to leave a blank space on the end of the cassette, to be able to add things. That way it won’t be the end of the story,” begins Syrian director Hala Al-Abdallah’s haunting cine-meditation on life, love, and art in the face of exile. Testimonies from several Syrian expatriates, including Al-Abdallah’s husband and her three close, strong-willed female friends, speak with heart and rage of living torn from their homeland, but also provide witness to what keeps them bound to it: poetry, painting, and art. Al-Abdallah, an assistant director on such Arab cinema classics as Stars in Broad Daylight (1988) and The Night (1992), weaves documentary, fable, home movie, and travelogue together in a personal reflection that, for her, is “a film like a puzzle in black and white, made up of journeys and returns that speak of prison and exile, the past and the present, love and death.”

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Al-Abdallah. Photographed by Al-Abdallah, Ammar El-Beik. (105 mins, In Arabic with English subtitles, B&W, DigiBeta)