Short Film: QARDOUN [La Passation], 9min., France, Experimental

Directed by Sarah El Hamed
In a timeless palace out of sight, a women’s circle realizes the strength of the mystical bond that unites them.

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Director Biography – Sarah El Hamed

Sarah El Hamed (born in 1985, Versailles) is a French-Algerian mixed media performance artist based in Paris. She works between Paris, Algiers and London.

She graduated from London College of Communication (UAL, 2010) and worked actively as an Arts Manager since then. She produced many projects such as: art exhibitions, concerts, workshops and conferences.

She counts amongst her inspirations diverse range of rituals and symbols from worldwide ancestral traditions as well as her North African heritage.

Her atmospheric live performances are mainly aiming to blur the boundaries of suspended reality. They are social experiments orchestrated as ceremonies in which the audience is invited to participate.

She uses various mediums : live performances, urban interventions, oral poetry, video art, photography and installations.

Director Statement

Qardoun was born out of questioning the hair. I wondered why, before the age of eighteen, I never dared letting go of my hair, having them down. I then realised the importance of the physical injunctions to which we submit women, but also the impact, sometimes discreet and devious, that they have on our daily life. Originally a performer, I first came up with the idea of ​​questioning the relationship of women to themselves, to their bodies and to society at the heart of a performative work.

A ribbon whose function is to straighten curly hair, the qardoun immediately established itself as the starting point of this artistic project. In this Berber-looking object, I first saw the injunction. The one who, according to Western beauty standards, says North African hair must be “disciplined”. Then I saw something else in it : a form of sorority. Because for many, qardoun ritual remains above all a moment of sharing between mothers, daughtes and sisters; during which stories are told and secrets are shared.

Like the qardoun, I wanted my work to simultaneously explore the suffering and the beauty of female existence. This is how I became interested in the figure of the witch – a strong woman if there was one – the supreme symbol of the struggle against patriarchal oppression. Inspired by this research, I wanted to summon the elements, and design an alchemical ritual through which the woman, freed from her chains, would become aware of all her power.

During an artistic residency in Algiers, four young women agreed to participate, alongside me, in an experience within the framework of this project. I asked them the most intimate questions. What relationship did they have with their family? their companions? How did they feel when they walked alone in the street? Their answers laid the foundation for my allegory. By multiplying the visualisation sessions, meditations and role-playing exercises, I brought these four women to states close to trance or hypnosis. Together, we laughed, cried, and lived, in a very concrete way, the path of transformation that is repeated in the film.

At the end of this powerful experience, it seemed important to me that this work be inscribed in time. That’s how I decided to stage it in an experimental short film.

By femalefilmfestival

The irony of this festival is that its goal is to not be around in 5 years time. To eventually not be relevant because there is zero need to have a festival geared for female talent and female stories because the stories presented in Hollywood and around the world are a balanced showcase of the human experience from both sexes. Our goal is to achieve a lot of success and then fold into oblivion simply because there is no need for this festival. This festival was created by the FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival as a simple reaction to a strong need to showcase female talent from around the world in a more profound way. When putting together the weekly festival, the administration noticed a lack of a female presence in the stories being shown at the festival. A classic example and analogy to the frustration is how the festival noticed that even the smaller roles in a screenplay were written for a man to play. There was zero reason for this in many stories. How a police officer, or a political campaign manager, for example with 3-4 lines in a screenplay was a "HE" character. Why? And these are the screenplays written by the winners! The talented one who have obtained agents and have began/beginning their careers as a writer.

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