Duke theater to screen films from Muslim nations
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.