In Search of Oum Kulthum
With her striking voice and charismatic aura, the Egyptian Oum Kulthum is remembered as the “Maria Callas of the Orient” even though her repertoire was very much rooted in the tradition of Middle Eastern music. Now 40 years after her death, the singer is revered more than ever in the Arabic world as one of the most famous female singers of the 20th century. From the 1930s to the 1970s, audiences filled entire concert halls to hear her sing. In her second feature film, Iranian artist Shirin Neshat draws a connection between Oum Kulthum’s story of emancipation and the situation of women today in the Muslim world. Neshat, who has made a name for herself with video installations and now lives in exile, is a pioneer of Muslim feminism which advocates a self-determined life without male interference.
The film screening will be followed by a discussion.