February 2018


Beyond Spring

Thursday 08.02.2018 7:30 PM | Club

Admission: €5

Organizer: Werkstatt der Kulturen/ EUME (Europe in the Middle East - The Middle East in Europe) / Mayadin al-Tahrir e.V.
Curation: Viola Shafik


Into the Sun: Lyrics of the Nubian Experience of Migration

Thursday | 08.02.2018 | 7.30 pm | Club
Admission: €5

An event held in cooperation with EUME (Europe in the Middle East - The Middle East in Europe) and Mayadin al-Tahrir e.V. / Curator: Viola Shafik

FILM SCREENING as part of the Arab film series BEYOND SPRING

  Voyage to Nubia (episode 7)
By Saad Nadim
Documentary, 1960, Egypt, 8 min., Engl. VO

This state produced classical short film by veteran documentary filmmaker Saad Nadim introduces viewers to the traditional culture of Nubia and praises the benefits of the High Dam which will soon force the Nubians into migration.

The Dam
Animated film by Saber Akeed, 1990, Egypt, 6 min.

This short animated film is about the loss of Nubian culture caused by the building of the Aswan dam, and was made by a Nubian filmmaker.

The Nubia Train
By Attiyat El-Abnoudi
Documentary, 2002, Egypt, 35 min., Arabic / Engl. subt.

With a hand-held camera this film observes at length the preparations and execution of the annual journey of Nubian families from Alexandria to Upper Egypt to celebrate the holidays back home. Four decades after the resettlement, clearly and without any spoken commentary, the film raises questions about the reasons of Nubian inner-Egyptian and generation-long migration and its outcome.

Talk by Alia Mossallam

In 1964, and after years of preparing for the migration and even at times looking forward to it, around 50,000 Nubians from 33 villages stretching between Egypt and Sudan, were migrated from the banks of the Nile to the deserts of Komombo. Where once their lives revolved around an unpredictable body of water, their main concern became escaping the sun. Why did they believe in the Dam's potential? How did they handle the trauma of displacement? How does a way of life completely dependent on the Nile from the myths of creation to daily rituals continue in its absence? Through listening to Nubian songs that reflect hope, nostalgia and finally anger, we listen to the conversations with the Nile, the birds, the mythical mer-people and the reflections of the many emotions affiliated with the move.

Alia Mossallam, EUME Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, holds a PhD in Political Science. Her dissertation explores a popular history of Nasserist Egypt through stories told and songs sung by people behind the 1952 revolution. She has taught at the American University in Cairo (AUC), the Cairo Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences (CILAS), the Freie Universität (FU) and held a series of workshops, 'Reclaiming Revolutionary Histories' all over Egypt. She also worked with theatre practitioners to document revolutionary experiences of the present, explore alternative histories of the past, and recreate them on the stage, for example the play Hawwa al-Hureyya (Whims of Freedom). She also writes for Mada Masr. Her current research project is 'Hekāyāt Sha’b – Stories of Peoplehood': Nasserism, Popular Politics and Songs in Egypt, 1956-1974 and she is working on her first book on the popular historiography of the dam building process, tentatively titled "This Is What Socialism Sounds Like".


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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 filmmaker, curator and film scholar. She has 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 has lectured at the American University in Cairo and Zürich University and is in the selection committee of the Rawi Screenwriters Lab and the Berlinale World Cinema Fund. She has directed several documentaries, most notably Ali im Paradies/My Name is not Ali (2011) and Arij - Scent of Revolution (2014).

She currently teaches at Humboldt University Berlin, as well as at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.

An event 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.