THE POETESS : Film screening of the courage journey of a Saudi woman

'Women,' she says, 'are the soul of society.' According to Hilal, if women are as isolated as in Saudi Arabia, society is undermined. She reminds us of the original reason for the burqa: It once served Bedouin women as a protection from the sun and attacks in the sparsely populated and protected desert. But today in modern cities, the compulsory cover only causes the oppression of women. This change, Hilal explains, is linked to a historic event, of which the directors found fascinating archive footage.

At the end of 1979, the extremist Juhayman and his followers occupied the Great Mosque in Mecca and took hostages to protest against the westernisation of Saudi Arabia. The tragedy ended in bloodshed: Juhayman was executed. Imagine a European TV channel attracting millions of viewers across countries with poetry readings. This is exactly what Abu Dhabi TV has managed to do for a decade with the show Million’s Poet.

After accusing extremists on stage, Hissa Hilal, a Saudi woman, who was shrouded in an abaya - a black cloak - and a niqab, received death threats. And the attention of the West. The German filmmaker Stefanie Brockhaus saw a picture of her in the New York Times and travelled with Andy Wolff to Abu Dhabi a few days later to accompany Hilal at the finals of Million's Poet.


THE POETESS : Film screening of the courage journey of a Saudi woman

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