Edgware Road Project artist-in-residence Rania Stephan presents the UK premiere of her film The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni (2011), which recently won the Sharjah Biennial Prize 2011.

The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is a rapturous elegy to a rich and versatile era of film production in Egypt which has lapsed today, through the work of one of its most revered actress and star: Soad Hosni, who from the early 1960 int…o the ‘90s, embodied the modern Arab woman in her complexity and paradoxes.

Born in Cairo in 1943, Soad Hosni committed suicide on the Edgware Road in London in 2001. Between the ages of 19 to 49, she played in eighty-two feature films with thirty-seven directors. Inspired by her rags-to-riches story, she was given the nickname ‘The Cinderella of Arab cinema’; she was the daughter, sister, friend, fiancée, lover and wife to illustrious stars of Egyptian cinema when it was the chief purveyor of cinematic fiction in the Arab world.

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

The re-use of fiction, the most compelling register of her work and body over the years, ultimately becomes the closest to a documentary about her life and work. The coarse and scratched visuals are an ode to the VHS tape that revolutionised the wide dissemination of film for home and personal use.

Irreverent, playful, marvellous and serious, The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni underscores the saving grace of fiction. In seventy-minutes, the film proposes a singular and poetic rewriting of a golden period of Egyptian cinema, enacted by Soad Hosni, an exceptional artist, tragic star and symbol of modern Arab womanhood.

On Rania Stephan:
Rania Stephan was born in Beirut. She has worked as a sound engineer, editor, first assistant and producer with renowned filmmakers including Simone Bitton and Elia Suleiman. Her filmography includes: Tribe (1993), Attempt at Jealousy (1995), My First Camera (1998), Arrest at Manara (2003), Wastelands (2005), Lebanon/War (2006). Her residency is undertaken with Ashkal Alwan: The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts.

Tickets £6/£5 available from:
The Gate
87 Notting Hill Gate,
London, W11 3JZ
or www.picturehouses.co.uk

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or our the Serpentine Gallery website: http://www.serpentinegallery.org/2011/01/rania_stephan.html