Film Screening at Jameel Arts Centre: The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni

The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni by Rania Stephan is a film I’ve been wanting to see since 2011 (I even featured it on the blog that year).

My film prayers have finally been answered. Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai is screening the film everyday until June 22 and I’m aiming to see it soon.

The film is 68 mins long and is showing in Gallery 9 every two hours on the hour. It’s free entry and you can find the opening hours and location of Jameel Arts Centre here.

Soad Hosni is one of the most well-known Egyptian actresses of her generation. She was also known as the “Cinderella of Arab Cinema”, and appeared in 82 films between 1959-1991, during the so-called golden age of Egyptian cinema. Her film characters range from the sweet girl next door to the fiesty and sexy, but also complex and emotionally emotionally wrought characters too.

Born in 1943 in Cairo, she committed suicide in the summer of 2001. Till today the circumstances of her suicide are considered mysterious and unknown.

The artist and filmmaker Rania Stephan made The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni by piecing together clips from VHS copies of films starring Soad Hosni.

The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni
Director: Rania Stephan
2011 | 68 min | Arabic with English subtitles

Pieced together exclusively from VHS footage of Egyptian films The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is constructed as a tragedy in three acts, where the actress tells her fantasised life story in the first person.

The film is at once a portrait of Hosni, whose real-life persona was inseparable from her life on screen, as well as a meditation on both the representation of women on screen and the space that cinema occupies in our imaginary.

The three disappearances of the film’s title refer to the disappearance of Hosni’s physical body, as well as to the disappearance of a rich era in Egyptian film production, and the phasing out of the VHS tape, once the foremost mode of circulation for such films.