The Endless Ache

AFS Essential Cinema: Children of Abraham/Ibrahim 5


For five years running now, the Austin Film Society has devoted a winter series to culling the very best of modern Middle Eastern cinema. But the troubles depicted in these films are ancient; with particularly heavy heart, we make note that repression of women – and the promise of violence when women resist that repression – is a recurring theme in some of the films showing in Children of Abraham/Ibrahim 5.

The series opens with Bliss, an award-winning 2007 Turkish film about a fundamentalist community's reaction to the rape of a virgin; her own family calls first for her suicide and then, when the girl balks, calls in a nephew to perform an "honor killing." That film is followed (in a rare Thursday screening; all other films screen Tuesdays) by 12 Angry Lebanese, a documentary film about a 2008 production of 12 Angry Men staged at a Lebanese penitentiary and performed by inmates. The University of Texas' Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic Flagship Program will co-sponsor the screening, which takes place on the UT campus and is followed by a Q&A with John Sinno, a producer and the president of Arab Film Distribution.

Feb. 22's The White Meadows is a narrative film about a man who rows along Iran's Lake Urmia, going town to town to hear inhabitants' sob stories and collect – literally – their tears. Faouzi Bensaïdi's WWW: What a Wonderful World, set in contemporary Casablanca, Morocco, is a rare thing in this series – a madcap comedy – but then it's right back to business as usual with Passion, a 2005 Syrian film about a patriarch taking action against a wife and mother who becomes obsessed with song. The series goes on brief hiatus, returning for March 22's Closed Doors. The oldest film in the series – it was made in 1999 – and set in Egypt, Closed Doors details a working mother's hardships, raising single-handedly a son who is being pulled toward religious fundamentalism. The 2009 doc Blood Relation closes the series (with the Austin Jewish Film Festival co-sponsoring the screening); it's a personal documentary by Noa Ben Hagai about her Israeli family's reckoning with long-lost Palestinian relations.


Films screen at 7pm at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (1120 S. Lamar). Admission is free for AFS members and $8 for the general public. Visit for more.

Feb. 15: Bliss (Mutluluk)

Feb. 17: 12 Angry Lebanese*

Feb. 22: The White Meadows (Keshtzar haye sepid)

March 1: WWW: What a Wonderful World

March 8: Passion (Bab el makam)

March 22: Closed Doors (Al Abwab al Moghlaka)

March 29: Blood Relation

*12 Angry Lebanese will screen in the Avaya Auditorium (ACES 2.302) on the UT campus.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Screens
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Matt Frank builds the perfect monster

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 28, 2020

SXSW Film Reviews: 'Lunarcy!'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Wayne Alan Brenner, March 15, 2013

More by Kimberley Jones
The Michelin Guide Rolls Into Texas
The Michelin Guide Rolls Into Texas
Storied restaurant guide to bestow state stars in the fall

July 16, 2024

Uptown Sports Club and Meanwhile Brewing Co. Are Throwing a Backyard BBQ
Uptown Sports Club and Meanwhile Brewing Co. Are Throwing a Backyard BBQ
Four-part series gathers pit & brew masters, chefs, live music

July 15, 2024


Children of Abraham / Ibrahim 5, 12 Angry Lebanese, The White Meadows, Keshtzar haye sepid, WWW: What a Wonderful World, Passion, Bab el makam, Closed Doors, Al Abwab al Moghlaka, Blood Relation

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle