Dialogue Series, Race & Society, Regional Studies

CIRS Presents Suzi Mirgani Film Screening

CIRS Presents Suzi Mirgani Film Screening

On January 15, 2015, Suzi Mirgani, Manager and Editor for CIRS Publications, delivered a Focused Discussion and film screening of her short film “Hind’s Dream.” The screening was followed by a discussion with the writer and director and members of the film’s cast and crew, including Georgetown University in Qatar students Athanasios Sardellis, Razan Al Humaidi, and Haya Al Romaihi. “Hind’s Dream” premiered at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival. It was also screened as part of the “Made in Qatar” section of the Doha Film Institute’s 2014 Ajyal Film Festival where it won an award for “artistic vision and poetic screenwriting.” 

Mirgani outlined how the film reflects the history, modernity, and folklore of Qatar. The film depicts a lonely Bedouin girl as she wanders through a desert landscape long before the discovery of hydrocarbons, which would eventually make Qatar one of the richest countries in the world. Only a few decades ago, Qatar was settled by nomadic tribes who lived a harsh and frugal existence in the open desert, hunting for food and ever searching for sources of water. It was only towards the end of the twentieth century that the country’s natural wealth was fully exploited, transforming it into colossal economic wealth to be reflected in the urban landscape in one of the fastest modernization and urbanization projects the world has ever seen. This rapid overhaul of traditional lifestyles has had a jarring effect on those who still remember the simplicity and isolation of desert existence.

The film presents a tangled landscape of dream and reality, where Hind has a vision of the future as told by an oracle/genie: a common motif in Arab fairy tales. Unbeknownst to her, Hind straddles two radically different worlds—old and new and reality and dream—at the cusp of the new century and a changing world. Beneath the barren desert of Hind’s reality, brews the thick black matter of her subconscious—and just like the bubbling oil in the gas fields around her, rises to the surface in this dreamscape.

The massive infrastructural changes taking place in the Gulf are usually represented in how they affect economic and geopolitical power, and are dealt with in “official” terms whether through academia or the media. These societal transformations are rarely dealt with in terms of the psychological impact of how urban and societal changes in the desert affect the individual. In order to explore these psychological influences, the film depicts the fluid concepts of “time” and the “subconscious,” and how such shifts can have a lasting—and perhaps jarring—effect on ways of thinking. 

Producers of the film included Haya Al Romaihi, Dwaa Osman, Suzi Mirgani, Rodney X Sharkey, and Julietta Mirghani. The principle actors were Asli Altinisik and Athanasios Sardellis, while the film’s poetry was translated into Arabic by Haya Al Romaihi and recited by Razan Al Humaidi. Also assisting with the production of the film were Arwa Elsanosi, Salman Ahad Khan, and Badr Rahima.

The film is also screening at the Imagine Science Film Festival in Abu Dhabi on February 20, 2015.

Read more at Al Bawaba.