In the video interview above, filmmaker Damien Ounouri talks about his film Fidaï, which inaugurated the film exhibition Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now, Part III, the third and final installment of of MoMA’s exploration of Arab cinema, on November 1. Ounouri’s first visit to New York was planned just as Hurricane Sandy hit the city, forcing an involuntary stopover in Cleveland. But by some miracle, he made it to MoMA just in time for the U.S. premiere of Fidaï,
In Arabic, a fidaï is a fighter who has sworn his life to a cause and is unafraid to be a martyr. In this intimate, lyrical film, Ounouri unearths his grand-uncle El Hadi’s story and provides a fresh perspective on the Algerian War of Independence, which ended in 1962. More than 50 years after joining the National Front for Liberation in France, El Hadi reveals memories of the years of struggle to his nephew—and, by extension, his family—for the first time. Opening with a citation from Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, the documentary follows in the footsteps of Ounouri’s mentor Jia Zhang-Ke, weaving dramatic issues with poetry to create a compelling narrative. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier in September of this year.
Don’t miss the opportunity to discover Fidaï , which screened today, November 9, in MoMA’s Theater 2 at 4:00 p.m.
Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema from the 1960s to Now, Part III runs through November 25.