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Leila and the Wolves (40th Anniversary)

It took Heiny Srour six years to make Leila and the Wolves, a film that reveals a hidden past of women’s struggle in Palestine and Lebanon in an attempt to rewrite the history of the region from a feminist point of view. As John Akomfrah has written, Leila and the Wolves “weaves a rich tableau of history, folklore, myth and archival material.” The film is structured in a series of sketches, each of which features the same actors. The female protagonist (Nabila Zeitoni) is a modern Lebanese woman living in London, where she is staging a photography exhibition in which women are the unsung heroines and martyrs of political conflict. She time travels through the 1900s to the 1980s, wandering through real and imaginary landscapes of Lebanon and Palestine. In an interview from 2020, the filmmaker says: “Nowadays, Leila and the Wolves is travelling the world again, more relevant than ever; my unconscious and the collective unconscious of the women of the Middle East spoke together throughout the extreme conditions of making this film.”

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its release, the ICA will screen a new restoration of the film from 3-22 May.

The screening on Friday 3 May will be followed by a conversation with director Heiny Srour.