Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (The)

  • Trois disparitions de Soad Hosni (Les)
© FID Marseille 2011
Genre : Biography
Type : Documentary
Original title : Ikhtifa'at soad hosni ath-thalathat
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2011
Format : Feature
Running time : 70 (in minutes)

A rapturous elegy to a rich and versatile era of film production in Egypt, constructed from the work of one of its most revered stars, Soad Hosni, who from the 1960s into the 1990s embodied the modern Arab woman in all her complexity and paradoxes. Stephan's montage of footage from VHS tapes, DVDs, and VCDs poetically rewrites a golden period of Egyptian cinema and evokes an enduring symbol of modern Arab womanhood.

In the foreground there is some dust on a threadbare tape worn, then an image vacillates, a sound crackles, the dreamy face of a woman finally appears and the murmur of the command : "Remember !" is to be heard. Remember who? Soad Hosni : an adored icon of the Egyptian cinema, an actress in almost one hundred films who was born in Cairo in 1943 and who committed suicide in London in 2001. It is the life story of this star that Rania Stephan has chosen to tell for her first feature film. A biopic then, but, given that Rania Stephan is also a renowned film editor, it is created solely from bits of films Hosni appeared in. With no other image than those Hosni presented to the camera, without commentary nor voice other than her own and those of her partners, this is, in short, Soad Hosni by herself. But here the actress is an ideal vehicle for circulating between imagination and reality, and her cinema, more than a dream factory, is a revelation. If the three chapters are presented as ‘‘three disappearances'', it is because Rania Stephan takes us on a triple journey : firstly into the recent history of the Egyptian cinema ; secondly into what transpires of the country's social and political history, in the era from Nasser to Mubarak ; and thirdly into the evolution of the place and image of women. There is nothing abstract however, as Soad Hosni's body fills the screen with her glory, and her films, which are mostly VHS copies, in tactile and worn material, feed this beautiful meditation with all the embodiment needed to maintain the presence of her remarkable melancholy.
Nicolas Feodoroff (FIDMARSEILLE 2011)

LES TROIS DISPARITIONS DE SOAD HOSNI'The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni)

Dir: Rania Stephan

LEBANON, 2011, Colour and B&W, VHS, 70'

Original version: Arabic
Subtitles: French
Music, photography, sound and editing: Rania Stephan

Production and distribution: Joun Films


RIDM 2011 - Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal 9>20 november 2011
* Selection "Contre-Courant"
* North America Premiere

* world premiere / first film competition / GNCR prize / media library prize / renaud victor prize〈=english

FIDLab 2009


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