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This Feminist Film Starring Saba Mubarak is Winning Hearts at the Amman International Film Festival

Saba Mubarak in Daughters of Abdulrahman

Jordanian filmmaker Zaid Abu Hamdan’s debut feature film, Daughters of Abdulrahman, premiered at the Amman International Film Festival recently, and is winning hearts all over the globe.

Starring Saba Mubarak, Mariam Basha, Farah Bseiso, and Hanan Hillo, the movie tells the story of four estranged sisters who come together to search for their missing father despite their differences, while keeping their endeavor a secret from meddling, judgmental neighbors. The story is a howl of protest against the patriarchal society and how it is often used to exploit and shun women.

Although the movie made its premiere at the 2021 Cairo International Film Festival and won the Audience Award, its screening on home soil at the Amman International Film Festival on Sunday was met with a lot of appreciation. The movie was also featured in the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival.

From left: Mariam Basha, Saba Mubarak, Farah Bseiso, and Hanan Hillo. Photo: Mad Distribution Films

“I did this film because of my love for my mother and my aunts,” said Abu Hamdan, in a discussion after the movie’s premiere. “I am a man in this society. I have less pressures, less limitations and I was still feeling smothered. I began writing the film after a conversation I had with my mother, and after conversations I had with women in Jordan about the reasons for their frustrations. I saw that a lot of women wanted to shout out, and I also wanted to shout out.”

The bold story begins as a suppressed echo that steadily builds up and involves plenty of emotional, impactful moments. “We did this film because we love Jordan,” Abu Hamdan said. “And we criticize that which we love.”

The film features an exemplary cast of female Arab actors who portray the four sisters leading extremely different lives. The universal story, which goes beyond the hills and skies of Jordan shows how a patriarchal society can be enforced by women and men alike. Daughters of Abdulrahman also received grants from the Doha Film Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, and the Jordan Film Fund offered by The Royal Film Commission Jordan, which greatly supported the production of the movie. In case you missed it, take a look at the trailer below.

Read next: All the Arab Films Announced in the Venice International Film Festival Lineup

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