Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

DC's North African Film Festival Includes "Bab' Aziz"

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

DC's North African Film Festival Includes "Bab' Aziz"

Article excerpt

"Bab'Aziz-The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul" was screened Feb. 17 at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC as part of the North African Film Festival. Stephen King, from Georgetown University, introduced the film and led a question-and-answer session after the viewing.

Director Nacer Khemir's film tells the story of a blind dervish Bab'Aziz and his granddaughter, Ishtar, who wander the desert in search of a great reunion of dervishes. To keep Ishtar entertained, Bab'Aziz tells the ancient story of a prince who gives up everything to examine his soul. While many viewers were moved by the spiritual message of the film, shot in Tunisia and Iran, and the natural beauty of the desert, the ensuing discussion revealed mixed reactions.

Born in the village of Korba, near Tunis, Khemir is French-educated and now lives in Paris. Some critics charge him with Orientalism and a failure to engage with present-day realities. …

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