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The Poetess: dir Stefanie Brockhaus and Andreas Wolff (2017)
5 MayAED 55
During the Holy Month, Cinema Akil is being transformed into Cinemajlis, a dining majlis serving casual, family-style South Asian cuisine and screening award-winning Arab films. Cinemajlis will also host games, talks, and performances by open mic event Blank Space including oud-qanun-piano sibling trio De3bal and feel good singer-songwriter Haranero. Iftar will be served every night followed by films at 9pm and 11pm on weekdays as well as pre-iftar screenings on weekends. There’s limited seating, so book in advance on the website or via the Facebook page; tickets for the iftar plus film are AED 200, for the film alone AED 55.
Cinema Akil’s Ramadan film programme begins with this likeable and insightful documentary about the Saudi poet Hissa Hilal; she made headlines as the first woman ever to get to the finals of Abu Dhabi’s Million’s Poet, the million dollar reality TV show that is the Arab world’s biggest poetry competition – which is dominated by men. In her poems Hissa criticises patriarchal Arab society and she attacks the extremist fatwas of one of the most notorious Saudi clerics in front of 75 million viewers. How did Hissa gain the knowledge and the courage to step on stage? It’s certainly not a critique of Islam, let alone Saudi Arabia, but she does promote the idea of letting women’s voices be heard from a place of social conservatism.
There are showings at 9pm and 11pm, and thereafter the film is in rep with daily showings to 11 May.