Duke theater to screen films from Mus­lim na­tions

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Mindy Pennybacker mpen­ny­backer@starad­ver­tiser.com

In a timely cin­ema se­ries launch­ing Satur­day, the Doris Duke The­atre at the Honolulu Mu­seum of Art will screen films from seven pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim na­tions that were tar­geted in Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s orig­i­nal travel ban.

The seven coun­tries are Iraq, Iran, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Ye­men, Syria and Libya.

A var­ied ros­ter of doc­u­men­tary and fic­tional films is at the heart of a 12-day pro­gram that is part of the Sev­enth Art Stand, an ini­tia­tive by art-house the­aters to defuse Is­lam­o­pho­bia, theater di­rec­tor Tay­lour Chang said.

“It’s the cin­e­matic com­mu­nity tak­ing a stand against anti-Mus­lim dis­crim­i­na­tion,” Chang said, not­ing that film is some­times re­ferred to as the sev­enth art, fol­low­ing ar­chi­tec­ture, sculp­ture, paint­ing, mu­sic, po­etry and dance. “Film and art are a way to en­gage peo­ple on dif­fi­cult top­ics.”

In ad­di­tion to the films, vis­ual >> Doris Duke The­atre, 901 Kinau St. >> Satur­day through June 7

>> $10 for film screen­ings ($8 mem­bers, free for ages 17 and younger), $25 open­ing and clos­ing con­certs ($20 mem­bers); free talks and work­shops but tick­ets re­quired

>> 532-6097, hon­olu­lu­mu­seum.org arts, live mu­sic, talks and work­shops will round out the se­ries. The pro­gram has added rel­e­vance in Hawaii, where At­tor­ney Gen­eral Dou­glas Chin filed suit in fed­eral court in March to block im­ple­men­ta­tion of a re­vised travel ban that re­moved Iraq from Trump’s list. Chin will speak at a kick­off event at the Doris Duke The­atre at 1 p.m. Satur­day, fol­lowed by a re­cep­tion. A live per­for­mance will take place at 4 p.m., with Syr­ian vis­ual artist Kevork Mourad, artist in res­i­dence at Doris Duke’s Shangri La, paint­ing on­stage to ac­com­pa­ni­ment by Ig­nace “Iggy” Jang, con­cert­mas­ter of the Hawai‘i Sym­phony Or­ches­tra. A clos­ing con­cert June 3 will fea­ture vi­o­lin­ist Mariela Shaker, a refugee from Aleppo, Syria, and pi­anist Jonathan Korth.

One of many film high­lights is “The Sales­man,” the 2016 movie about a mar­riage in Tehran, Iran, that won the Acad­emy Award for best for­eign-lan­guage film. Di­rec­tor As­ghar Farhadi boy­cotted the Os­cars cer­e­mony in Fe­bru­ary in protest of the travel ban. He re­ceived his Os­car stat­uette Wednes­day at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val in France, where “The Sales­man” also won awards for best ac­tor and screen­play.

Fol­low­ing the May 28 screen­ing of “The Sales­man,” speak­ers from the Univer­sity of Hawaii at Manoa — Ladan Hamedani, an in­struc­tor of Per­sian lan­guage and cul­ture, and Ta­mara Al­ber­tini, head of Is­lamic stud­ies in the phi­los­o­phy depart­ment — will dis­cuss women’s rights in Iran.

Di­rec­tor chats via Skype will fol­low show­ings of sev­eral films, in­clud­ing “The Dark Wind” and “House With­out Roof,” both from Iraq; “A New Day in Old Sana’a,” a ro­mance from Ye­men; and “God Grew Tired of Us,” from Su­dan. Ap­pear­ing in per­son will be the di­rec­tor, writ­ers and an ac­tress from “Fish­ing With­out Nets,” a So­mali film. A Syr­ian writer and po­lit­i­cal dis­si­dent, Yassin al-Haj Saleh, will Skype in to dis­cuss “Last Men in Aleppo,” to which ad­mis­sion is free, spon­sored by Hawaii J20+ and the Still and Mov­ing Cen­ter. Af­ter mati­nee screen­ings, view­ers can take free tours of the Arts of the Is­lamic World gallery and the spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion “Shazia Sikan­der: Par­al­lax.” Free lec­tures and work­shops will be of­fered by the Hawaii chap­ters of the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional and oth­ers.

The Doris Duke The­atre se­ries is one of more than 50 Sev­enth Art Stand pro­grams through­out the U.S. that will open Satur­day, which co­in­cides with the start of Ra­madan, the Mus­lim holy month of fast­ing and prayer. While the Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion of Hawaii is a “strong sup­porter” of the event, Chang noted, “A lot of the pro­gram is tar­geted to the non-Mus­lim com­mu­nity to shift some of the as­sump­tions even some of us in Hawaii may have of Mus­lim cul­ture and the Arab world.” Af­ter view­ing these cul­tur­ally rich and di­verse films, filled with com­plex­i­ties and con­tra­dic­tions she hadn’t imag­ined, she found her own as­sump­tions to be mis­in­formed, Chang said.

For a full sched­ule of screen­ings and events, go to hon­olu­lu­mu­seum.org.

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