June 2015


Beyond Spring

Thursday 11.06.2015 7:30 PM | Saal

Admission: 5 €

Organizer: Werkstatt der Kulturen/ Mayadin al Tahrir e.V.


Arab Film Series

Iraq and the Shadow of Dictatorship

Leaving Baghdad
(D: Koutaiba al-Janabi, Fiction, Iraq 2010, 85 min, Arabic/English/Hungarian with English Subtitles)


Sadiq, the personal camera man of Saddam Hussein is on the escape taking a long journey to Europe. He is not only haunted by the images he shot for the dictator, he has also some personal issues to grabble with, most importantly the disappearance of his son who did not share his father’s political views.

For the footage supposedly shot by fictional Sadiq, the director used archival material from Saddam Hussein’s meanwhile accessible archive. He weaves them elegantly into his serene and documentary like fiction.

Koutaiba Al-Janabi was born in Baghdad. He studied photography and cinematography in Budapest, Hungary. He directed and produced short films, documentaries, as well as television programmes and won several awards for his work as a cinematographer and as a director. The Hubert Bals Fund supported the development of his coming feature project Night Trains. Leaving Baghdad is the first feature length film as a director.


Beyond Spring - Arab film series

In 2010, the Tunisian protest movement triggered a wave of upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa that became known as “the Arab Spring”. However, there is also a history to tell beyond “Spring”.

With its specific selection the film series offered by Mayadin al-Tahrir includes documentaries and fiction films by filmmakers from several Arab countries. It aims at exploring some major social and political issues in the region and enhance our understanding of the various dynamics with regards to class, gender and politics in general.

The screenings will be accompanied by moderated panels with academic experts from the Berlin-based research program Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe (EUME) at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin.

Next Screenings

  • four more dates in Autumn 2015 (in planning)


Viola Shafik, PhD, is a freelance filmmaker, film curator and film scholar. She authored among others Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity, AUC-Press, Cairo, 1998 and Popular Egyptian Cinema: Gender, Class and Nation, AUC-Press, 2007. She lectured at the American University in Cairo and the Zürich University and is in the selection committee of the Rawi Screenwriters Lab and the Berlinale World Cinema Fund. She directed several documentaries, most notably Ali im Paradies/My Name is not Ali (2011) and Arij - Scent of Revolution (2014).

She currently teaches at the Humboldt University, Berlin and the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.


In cooperation with Mayadin al Tahrir e.V. and EUME (Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe).