Broad Underground Film Series: The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni

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Friday March 19

7:00 PM  –  9:00 PM

Film audiences at festivals and museums are often well prepared to consider art cinema as a global phenomenon. Global golden ages, by comparison, tend to be overlooked. Soad Hosni’s career, which spanned from the late 1950s until the early 1990s, marks one of the great disappearing acts in the history of global golden ages. Her creative labor and iconic roles helped to define Egyptian cinema. Her personal life, from her early fortunes to her mysterious suicide in 2001, was rarely far from the public eye and generated a robust media legacy of its own.


The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni forms what video artist Rania Stephan calls “an archaeology of images, identity, and memory.” Repetitions of character types at each phase in Hosni’s long career unfold as a dream world from which the performer struggles to emerge. Stephan’s video draws footage from more than sixty rare videotapes that took her over a decade to collect. It emphasizes, not the official film archives and their celluloid vaults, but the analog consumer electronics that kept Hosni’s work alive informally. The magnetic distortions in these images document their journeys as they were stored on tapes, exchanged in suitcases, and reanimated on private VHS players. 


The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni has received the Artist Prize at the Sharjah Biennial, the Renaud Victor Prize at FIDMarseille International Film Festival, and the Best Filmmaker award at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Other works by Rania Stephan include Memories of a Private Eye (2015), DAMAGE, for Gaza “The Land of Sad Oranges” (2009), Lebanon/War (2006), Wastelands (2005), Kimo the Taxi (2003), Arrest at Manara (2003), trains-trains (Where’s the Track) (1999), Baal & Death (1997), Attempt at Jealousy (1995), and Tribe (1993).