Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires Ministerio de Cultura

Film info: Mafrouza - Paraboles

Film Information

Original Title Mafrouza - Paraboles
English Title Mafrouza - The Art of Speaking
Director Emmanuelle Demoris
Year 2010
Format Digibeta
Colour Color
Duration 155 min
  • Mohamed Khattab, Hassan Stohi, Hasan Gaber Ibrahim
  • Fotografía: Emanuelle Demoris
  • Montaje: Emmanuelle Demoris, Céline Ducreux
  • Producción: Jean Gruault


A new ethnographic genre has surfaced in recent years: films (fiction or documentary, there’s no difference) about the people living in marginalized neighborhoods about to be destroyed. From In Vanda’s Room to Foreign Parts, it has become a common thing that filmmakers would live together with the inhabitants of those places providing them with a voice. The Mafrouza project –of which Paraboles is the fifth and last part– brings along an important difference: the elimination of any sign of picturesque style and condescendence, of social or narrative hierarchy between the filmmaker and his characters. On the contrary, one might say that Demoris learns from Mohamed Khattab –an Egyptian kiosk owner who fights against Islamic fundamentalist for his right to preach in the mosque– and his surroundings. And so he shows us a certain civil urbanism, some secular and cosmopolitan ways of coexisting apart from political or religious bureaucracies. And he celebrates it in a happy and secretly optimistic film, which gains a visionary quality with the recent demands for freedom, justice, and democracy in the Arab world provide. Once again, cinema goes ahead of history.


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