ICA LogoICA Off-Site: Cinema On The Steps: Contemporary Middle Eastern Film 20 – 22 August 2013

     11 Aug 13

The ICA has partnered with Qatar Museums Authority to brings an exciting selection of contemporary Middle Eastern artists’ films to the Duke of York Steps adjacent to the Institute to celebrate Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture. This event forms part of its next off-site project from 20 – 22 August 2013 offering audiences outdoor cinema on The Mall.

The first night, curated by Abdellah Karroum, features filmmakers Ala Eddine Slim, Ismaël and Youssef Chebbi’s Babylon, which captures the displacement caused during the Arab Spring.The second night of Cinema on the Steps screens Manal Al Dowayan’s silent remix of belly dancing clips in The Legends, three short films by Ziad Antar, and the main feature, Rania Stephan’s The Three Disappearences of Soad Hosni.The final night of Cinema on the Steps features artist Ahmed Mater’s Leaves Fall in All Seasonsand a screening of the newly restored classic of Egyptian cinema The Night of Counting the Years (Al Momia).

From exhibitions held in East End car parks to inspired events at Glastonbury, the ICA Off-Site projects are proving to be enormous fun and this summer’s ‘Cinema on the Steps’ is no exception. The ICA is delighted to be working with Abdellah Karroum (Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha), Alia Al-Senussi and  Abdullah Al-Turki who will bring a spirited selection of Middle Eastern artists’ film to The Mall.

Doors open at 7.30pm, the programme starts at 8.30pm (except Wednesday which starts at 7.45pm) and ends at 10.45pm. The programme is curated as follows:

Tuesday 20 August: evening curated by Abdellah Karroum

dir. Ala Eddine Slim, Ismaël and Youssef Chebbi, Tunisia, 2012, 121 min
Filmed on the main border crossing between Tunisia and Libya, filmmakers Ala Eddine Slim, Ismaël and Youssef Chebbi’s video essay captures the displacement caused during the Arab Spring, as a modern day Babylon is constructed to house the thousands seeking refuge in Tunisia from neighbouring countries. Babylon’s observational style records the temporary camp’s construction, alongside intimate encounters with its diverse population including Africans and Bangladeshis as tensions rise in the uncompromising environment, mediated by humanitarian aid workers and media agencies.

ICAWednesday 21 August: evening curated by Alia Al-Senussi and Abdullah al-Turki

The Legends 
dir. Manal Al Dowayan, 60 min, silent
Short films by Ziad Antar
screening time: 15 min
The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni 
dir. Rania Stephan, 2011, 70 min

The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is an elegy to a rich era of film production in Egypt through the work of revered star, Soad Hosni, who from the early 1960 into the 90s, embodied the modern Arab woman in her complexity and paradoxes. Born in Cairo in 1943, Hosni committed suicide in London in 2001. Between the ages of 19 to 49, she acted in eighty-two films with thirty-seven directors. Pieced together exclusively from VHS footage taken from her films, The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is a classical tragedy in three acts, with the actress describing her dream life in first person.

Thursday 22 August: evening curated by the artist Ahmed Mater

Short film by Ahmed Mater 
screening time: 20 min
The Night of Counting the Years (Al Momia)
dir. Shadi Abdel Salam, Egypt, 1969, 103 min

Considered one of the greatest Egyptian films of all time, Al Momia / The Night of Counting the Years was recently restored by filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation.  Set in 1881, and based on a true story, the film follows two brothers from an Egyptian clan, and their involvement in the looting of a recently discovered tomb, subsequently selling the artefacts on the black market. When one of the clan reports the looting to the Antique Services, underlying themes of Egyptian identity and lost heritage are brought to the fore. Unique for its stylised edits and unusual camera angles, the film captures the unique archaeological locations and artefacts, in this newly restored print, all set to an original score composed by Italian musician Mario Nascimbene.

The screenings are free.

The ICA is delighted to work in partnership with the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) to present an extraordinary 3 day free programme of Middle Eastern films curated by Alia Al-Senussi, Abdullah Al-Turki and Abdellah Karroum. This programme represents the ICA’s continuing interest in art from the Middle East, this being the second time that the ICA has collaborated with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha. I hope there will be many further opportunities in future. – Gregor Muir, Executive Director, ICA

I’m delighted to be involved in the ICA’s outdoor cinema project as it feels very personal to me. The art world in the Middle East is like a family and I’m thrilled to be bringing together some old friends. I spent the first six years of my life in Egypt – historically a creative hub within the Middle East – and so showing works like Manal Al Dowayan’s film about Egyptian bellydancers is particularly exciting as it has a feeling of nostalgia of a golden era of cinema and dance, and illustrates the incredible transformation of female identity. As I’m half Libyan I hope that awareness of and within the Middle East through the arts will continue to flourish through projects like this.  – Alia Al-Senussi, VIP Relations Manager Middle East for Art Basel worldwide

This collaboration with the ICA provides people with an opportunity to experience the work of contemporary Middle Eastern artists in an iconic UK location. This film showcase is an ideal celebration of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture which aims to cultivate mutual recognition, understanding and appreciation of Qatari and British cultures through events like these that both entertain and educate. – Aisha Ghanem Al Attiya, spokesperson for Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture

Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture is a programme of cultural exchanges and events in Qatar and the UK coordinated by the British Council and Qatar Museums Authority which aims to forge new and support existing partnerships between the two countries in the arts, education, sport and science, while promoting an awareness and appreciation of each country’s culture, achievements and heritage.

The Contemporary Middle East Film season is supported by Qatar Museums Authority and the ICA is delighted to be working with additional support from the Mayor of London, The Royal Parks Agency and The Crown Estate.

ICA Off-Site Summer Programme
ICA Off-site: Duke of York Steps is part of a series of off-site events that the ICA will stage across the UK this summer, which started with the presentation of Icy Gays, in association with ‘Vogue Fabrics’, at Glastonbury Festival and Bowiefest at Latitude Festival (18 July 2013) which celebrated David Bowie in 1973, one of the most artistically important years in his career. Upcoming projects include A journey through London’s subculture: 1980s to Now at Old Selfridges Hotel (13 September – 20 October 2013) which will bring together up to 60 influential artists and art movements from London past and present; and rounding off the season is the ICA’s collaboration with Art on the Underground for Canary Wharf Screen (September – December 2013).

Listings information:

ICA Off-site: Cinema on the Steps
Contemporary Middle Eastern Film
20 – 22 August 2013

ICA Off-Site: Old Selfridges Hotel
A journey through London’s subculture: 1980s to Now
13 September – 20 October 2013
1 Orchard Street, W1H 6JS
Opening hours: everyday 12pm – 6pm

ICA Off-Site: Canary Wharf Screen
September – December 2013
Canary Wharf Underground Station

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Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH