Emmanuelle Demoris's Mafrouza Cycle (2007 - 2010) 5 x DVD9
MAFROUZA is a five-part documentary film shot by Emmanuelle Demoris over two years spent in Mafrouza, a Egyptian shanty town built on the site of a Greco-Roman necropolis in Alexandria. MAFROUZA unfolds through the stories of a few characters who take the time to reveal themselves as rounded individuals, thus giving us the opportunity to understand the complexities of their world. And this journey in the neighbourhood also lead us to reflect on ourselves, filming or viewing its inhabitants, the characterful heroes of Mafrouza.

Starting with the first encounters between the filmmaker and the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, MAFROUZA shows the destinies of a few people, who change as the months go by and respond one another into a polyphonic chronicle that unfolds chronologically through 5 installments of which each is independent and can be viewed separately.

Life is hard in Mafrouza, but the inhabitants resist with grace and strength: Adel and Ghada, a young couple in search of happiness; Mohamed Khattab, a humanist grocer and sheikh; Hassan, a freedom-loving-thug-singer; Abu Hosny, an old loner with a flooded home; the peasant Om Bassiouni with her bread oven; the Chenabou rag-and-bone family; Gihad, a young wrestler girl,… They all embody and tell of this resistance of theirs, which makes their neighbourhood a astonishing space of freedom and vitality. Mafrouza takes the time to enter this world and to grasp its complexities. But the film also recounts the encounter between the people of Mafrouza and the woman who has come from Paris to film them. Including her as an off-screen character, the narration of the film breaks the wall between the people of Mafrouza and the camera, which also means between them and the viewer, which makes the film a unique cinematographic experience. And this experience of an encounter also challenges our way of looking at the other. If Mafrouza dispels many received ideas about the poor, the East or about islam, it also, mirroring this, questions our ways of looking and living (in the Western world, or elsewhere).

5 x DVD9 | PAL 4:3 | 02:19:02 + 02:41:26 + 02:34:27 + 02:23:49 + 02:37:14
Language: Arabic
Subtitles: English, Francais, Espanol
Genre: Documentary

Mafrouza - Oh the night! [Oh la nuit !]
A first archaeological visit leads to our meeting some of the people of Mafrouza. Their creative vitality and freedom are revealed through practical struggles as well as through songs and poems that drive the narrative of the film.

Mafrouza/Heart [Mafrouza/Coeur]
Four months later. Everything in Mafrouza has been broken: houses are flooded, a couple is on the verge of divorce, a cheek is torn by a razor blade. Reconstructing themselves along with the world around them, the people of Mafrouza address and question the camera whose presence raises debates. Through exchanges and encounters, the camera’s eye is moved and falls in love.

What is to be done? [Que faire ?]
Sharing the sweetness of the last days of August with a few people of Mafrouza, to whom we are now familiar. Building steps, making some tea, preaching the sermon, having children, messing about, dancing, singing, swimming, each one daily invents a way to resist. And the struggle to survive ends up a lust for life.

The Hand of the Butterfly [La Main du Papillon]
Early winter in Mafrouza. Deep inside the houses, we discover three generations of women by sharing in the intimacy of two family events: the birth of a baby boy and the engagement of a young female wrestler, two moments in which the individual destinies take shape, Here, we discover how the people of Mafrouza summon a rich imaginary world to make reality liveable by giving voice to the mysteries of life, death and gender.

The Art of Speaking [Paraboles]
In the feast month preceding the great Eid day, fundamentalists come to seize the small mosque of the neighbourhood and start to deliver the Friday sermon. The people of Mafrouza tell the facts and comment on the situation with strong, quiet and clear-headed words. Mohamed Khattab, the ousted sheikh (and grocer of the neighbourhood) Keeps his dignity, his playful irony and the secret about his intentions. But he hasn’t said his last word yet…

The 5 parts are in chronological order, but each part is independent
and can be viewed separately from the others.

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