Three films from London’s upcoming Human Rights Film Festival with a musical focus
The Human Rights Watch Film Festival encompasses films from a variety of writers and directors across the globe, looking at human rights across a diverse group of cultural settings. Taking place from 18th – 27th March, the films are to be shown at three venues in London – The Ritzy Brixton, Curzon Soho and Barbican Cinema.
Three of the films to be shown have musical themes that particularly caught our eyes. No Land’s Song is set in Iran, where it is illegal currently for female singers to sing in public, and recordings are only obtained on the black market. Attempting to go against this, Sara Najafi is bravely putting together a cultural exchange between Iran and France, involving a concert of female vocalists. The film follows Sara’s struggles with authorities while keeping at its core the main focus – the female voice.
Beats of Antonov is made by Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka and follows the rich musical heritage of his motherland while following the story of a group of villages that are regularly hit by air-raids. The end of a raid is usually signalled by the sound of singing from the villagers and rebels. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at Toronto International Film Festival, it throws a spotlight over cultural expression in a war-torn Sudan.
Filmed before, during and after the Arab Spring, The Dream of Shahrazad uses the story of the princess Shahrazad from 1001 (Arabian) Nights and a recording of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade to narrate the lives shaken by the events of the political and cultural upheaval around that time. Described as a ‘richly kaleidoscopic film’ it wends its way through several media to tell its rich narrative.
The three films are showing at these times:
No Land’s Song
Beats of Antonov
The Dream of Shahrazad
For tickets and more info on the festival, head to the HRW website.