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Black Medusa: The Return of Neo Noir in New Arab Cinema

ismaël in conversation with Hamid Waheed
Wednesday 01.02.23

The fourth edition of our program series Suspended Presents, Stolen Futures presents a recent controversial neo noir film from Tunisia. Black Medusa (2020) was directed by visual artist and filmmaker ismaël in collaboration with Youssef Chebbi. The program looks at the connection between the resurgence of the film noir genre and post-Arab Spring disillusionment.

ismaël will be in conversation after the screening.

About the film

In today’s Tunis, Nada is hard of hearing and communicates through a smartphone app. The 25-year-old woman leads a double life: lonely and boring during the day, violent and extreme during the night. This highly ritualized life is going to shatter the day she falls in love with an old knife and a colleague of hers - Noura - falls in love with her.

The film is a Medusa myth-inspired film noir in the era of #MeToo.


In conversation

ismaël is a filmmaker, a visual artist and an author. He directed Black Medusa (Tiger Competition, IFFR 2021), Fragments of Self-Phone-Destruction (awarded at Experimental and Different Cinema Festival, 2019), Leila’s Blues (premiered at Cannes Director’s Fortnight in 2018), Babylon (Grand Prize, FID Marseille 2012) among others. He also produced The Last of Us (Lion of the Future, Venice 2016). As visual artist he exhibited photography works, video art, printed works and multimedia installations at several venues, such as Momenta Gallery (New-York), Talmart Gallery (Paris), A. Gorgi Gallery (Tunis), Venise Cadre Gallery (Casablanca), Le Cube (Rabat), and Friche la Belle de Mai (Marseilles). He has also published numerous papers, articles and short essays on several printed and online publications. Besides, ismaël curated film programs and contemporary art exhibition and was Artistic Director of the arts festival Masnaa (Casablanca 2016).

Hamid Waheed is a filmmaker and visual artist utilizing moving images, as well as writing and performing. He has an MFA from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, a BFA in Moving Images from Nordland School of Arts and Film and is part of the curatorial collective HÆRK.

Suspended Presents, Stolen Futures

The program series Suspended Presents, Stolen Futures: Sci-Fi, Humor and Nostalgia in New Arab Cinema is curated by filmmaker Mira Adoumier and head of program at Kunstnernes Hus Cinema Silja Espolin Johnson and supported by the Norwegian Film Institute.

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