July 2016


Arab Film Series - Beyond Spring

Tuesday 05.07.2016 8:00 PM | Saal

Admission: 5 €

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


Arab Film Series - Beyond Spring

"Waiting for Abu Zayd" by Mohamed Ali Atassi

Following the screening, there will be a discussion with Islam Dayeh (FU Berlin) and Umar Ryad (University of Utrecht).

In rememberance of Nasr Hamid Abu Zayds to mark the 6th anniversary of his passing on 5.7.2010

"Waiting for Abu Zayd" by Mohamed Ali Atassi
Documentary 80 min, Egypt/Syria 2010, with English subtitles

This in-depth documentary focuses on the Egyptian liberation Theologian Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd (July 10, 1943 – July 5, 2010), known and remembered for his intellectual curiosity, courage, and humor, and his commitment to a humanistic interpretation of religion and sacred scriptures. His approaches to the Qur’an have challenged mainstream approaches, reactions to his critique of the politization of religious discourse have forced him into exile. Film director M.A. Atassi joins him on some lecture tours and engages him in some moving debates.

Following the screening, there will be a discussion with Islam Dayeh (FU Berlin) and Umar Ryad (University of Utrecht).

Umar Ryad is associate professor of Islamic Studies at Utrecht University - The Netherlands. He finished his BA at Al-Azhar University in Cairo and got his MA and PhD from Leiden University - The Netherlands where he encountered Nasr Abu Zaid. His research interests include trends of modern Muslim thought, Christian-Muslim relations in Egypt in the colonial age and transnational Muslim movements in the interwar era. He is currently leading an ERC Starting Grant research project on the history of Muslims in interwar Europe.

Islam Dayeh is Assistant Professor for Arabic studies at Freie Universität Berlin. He studied at the University of Jordan (BA in Islamic studies), with Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid at the University of Leiden (MA in Religious Studies) and University of Oxford (MSt in Jewish studies) and obtained his PhD from Freie Universität Berlin. He is director of the research program "Zukunftsphilologie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship" and Executive Editor of the journal Philological Encounters (Brill). His research focuses on the history of Arabic-Islamic scholarship and intellectual history in the early modern period.

Trailer "Waiting for Abu Zayd"




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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”.

Since 2014, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN has been highlighting films from several Arab countries as part of the Arab Film Series, with this specific selection of films curated by Viola Shafik. It aims at exploring some major social and political issues in the region and further our understanding of various dynamics in regards to class, gender and politics in general, as well as explore topics concerning confessionalism, social justice and the question of Palestine.

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.


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).


The facilities of the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN are accessible to wheelchair users. Please call us in advance on +49 (0)30 60 97 70-0 to ensure proper access support.