Through documentary, women have an incredible power to portray narratives in an unfiltered and captivating way. They are able tell the struggles and challenges of the female experience from an authentic and gut wrenching way.
And it’s something that female Arab filmmakers have perfected. Their beautiful, complex, and nuanced stories resonate with women all over. As more of them step up to the international film scene, more female Arab narratives are finally being heard.
If you’re looking to get familiar, here are five gripping female-directed documentaries following the inspirational lives of Arab women.
For Sama – Waad Al-Kataeb
The powerful, devastating documentary was shot over the course of five years in Aleppo, documenting Al-Kataeb’s life. The film sees the Syrian filmmaker fall in love, get married and give birth to Sama.
A Borrowed Dress – Leen Alfaisal
A Borrowed Dress follows Alfaisal’s journey on escaping war-torn Syria to live with her daughter in the UAE, whilst the rest of their family is displaced around the globe.
Freedom Fields – Naziha Arebi
Set in a post-revolution Libya, an aspiring all-female football team struggles to gain mainstream acceptance. Libyan filmmaker Naziha Arebi addresses the boundaries put on Arab women in sports as well in contemporary Libyan society.
Tiny Souls – Dina Naser
The Jordanian director follows 9-year-old Marwa who flees with her family from Syria and gets stranded in a refugee camp in Jordan. Filmed over the course of four years, the documentary is an inspiring testimony of resistance, survival and hope.
Beirut Diaries – Mai Masri
Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri explores the critical transformations of the post-Cedar revolution Lebanon. All through the experiences of 25-year-old Nadine Zaidan, one of the thousands of activists who gathered in Beirut’s Martyrs Square following the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in February 2005.