[2014] Have You Ever Killed A Bear? Or Becoming Jamila

Experimental video by Marwa Arsanios (Lebanon / 2014/ 25” / Arabic with English subtitles). Cinematographer: Karam Ghossein. Screened at Berlinale Forum Expanded (2015), Videoex,
Winner, Future Generation Art Prize, 55th Venice Biennale.

A performance (45min) and a video performance (25 min) that uses the history of a magazine (Cairo’s Al-Hilal 50s and 60s collection) as the starting point for an inquiry into Jamila Bouhired, the Algerian freedom fighter. From the different representations of Jamila in Cinema to her assimilation and promotion through the magazine, the performance attempts to look at the history of socialist projects (Egypt), anti-colonial wars (Algeria), and the way they have promoted and marginalized feminist projects.
The clear gender division used to marginalize women from the public sphere was overcome for a short moment during the Algerian war of independence (Jamila becoming its icon). Different voices and material (film and print) are used to explore this history.
What does it mean to play the role of the freedom fighter? What does it mean to become an icon? Between role playing and political projects, how does constitution of the subject serve certain political purposes?

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