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Leila And The Wolves
 
 

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PFF resources | Index of films screened by the PFF
LEILA AND THE WOLVES


Directed by | Heiny Srour

Genre fiction  |  Length: 90mins  |  Year of production: 1984


As bold politically as it is aesthetically, Leila and the Wolves is a signal work in the history of feminist filmmaking in the Middle East, and a key moment in the wider shaping of “Third Cinemas”. Using a compelling narrative structure, Srour examines roles played by Palestinian and Lebanese women in their national struggles. The eponymous Leila, an exiled curator preparing an exhibition of Palestinian photography, serves as a launching pad for the film’s challenge to erasures of Arab women from history. Leila looks to recentre women in Arab history, yet she refuses to mimic a masculinised discourse of heroism in doing so. Leila’s reflections gradually see this central character multiply and migrate as she transcends a series of female roles, each of which reveal an element of social oppression, sustain a call for resistance. Of this pursuit of new narrative forms, Srour has commented: “Those of us from the third world have to reject the idea of film narration based on the 19th century bourgeois novels with its commitment to harmony. Our societies have been too lacerated and fractured by colonial power to fit into those neat scenarios.”