2007, Sun, Dec 09

Presentations, talks, discussions

Weekend I

DI/VISIONS. Culture and Politics of the Middle East: Weekend I

DI/VISIONS. Culture and Politics of the Middle East: Weekend I

16-17 p.m.


R: Ali Atassi, Syrien, 2001, 50 min

Screening in presence of the film director Ali Atassi. The film revolves around Riyad al-Turk, the founding member of the Syrian Communist Party. He spent over seventeen years in jail and is regarded as Syria’s Mandela. ‘Cousins’ reflects upon his survival strategies during his time in prison.

5-6 p.m.

Political Transition and Reform

What are the sources and stabilising factors of authoritarianism in the Middle East? What is the role of Islamic movements in the specific cases Egypt and Syria? The participants debate strategies and prospects of political transition from within the region.

Discussion with Wael Sawah, Sherif Younis

7-10 p.m.

Mafrouza – Oh Night!

R: Emmanuelle Demoris, France, 2007, 148 min

Screening in presence of the French film director.

‘Mafrouza – Oh Night!’ is a long-term documentary research in a poor housing area of Alexandria. The filmmaker Emmanuelle Demoris lived within the Mafrouza community and documented the dwellers´ daily life, strategies and struggles.

Arabic with English subtitles. Discussion in English.


Ali al-Atassi is a journalist and civil rights activist. His writings include contributions to the literary supplement of the Lebanese daily newspaper Al-Nahar. He made his name with his documentary film about the Syrian dissident Riad al Turk and his active commitment to civil rights. Ali al-Atassi lives in Beirut and Damascus.

Emmanuelle Demoris is a French filmmaker, author and critic. After she completed her studies, she worked at the Parisian film academy FEMIS as an actress and theatre director. She then began making her own films. Demoris writes as an author and critic for the biannual Cinéma magazine. She lives in Paris.

Wael Sawah is a political essayist and activist. He lives in Damascus.

Sherif Younis is an author, translator, historian and co-publisher of the journal Al-Bosia. He teaches Egyptian and Modern European History at the Helwan University in Cairo. He is a fellow of the research program ‘Europe in the Near East – The Near East in Europe’.