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Reel Feminist Presents: The Girls (El-Banate Dol)

January 6, 2014

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This month, In Other Words presents These Girls (El-Banate Dol) by Egyptian Canadian filmmaker Tahani Rached. This film is an intimate portrait of the lives of several street-involved girls in Cairo and has won critical acclaim and made the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and New York Film Festival.

Samir Farid says in a review of These Girls:

Some scenes in El-Banat Dol are almost unbearably moving, especially those surrounding the birth of a baby, when a cot is prepared from a cast- off box. Is this a documentary, or should it be considered a feature film, with the girls reenacting their own lives? It doesn’t really matter; such critical classifications come after the fact of the creative act and are secondary to it. The point to be made is that Rached neither asks the viewers to respond to the film as a feature, nor does she expect them to believe that she took her camera to the street and filmed with a fly on the wall technique.

She has carefully selected footage that interprets what she has seen. For example, there is a scene in which she addresses one of the girls from behind the camera and tells her that the filming could stop if she’d prefer.

While foregrounding the strategies for survival these girls are forced to adopt El-Banat Dol does not ignore the daily tragedy of their plight. Rather, the film is a plea to solve the problems faced by street children, and one that operates on a level that is at once humane and subtle.

Come down to the Clinton Street Theatre on Wednesday, January 22nd at 7pm for a screening of These Girls with discussion to follow. Admission is $5-10, with anything over $5 going directly to support In Other Words.

For more information, RSVP on Facebook and join the In Other Words presents: Reel Feminism group.

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