Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hidden Beauty Documentary Review

Hidden Beauty (خفية الجمال) is a short documentary by Olga Sapozhnikova that looks at the role of women in Arabian society. Four Arabic women living in the United Arab Emirates are profiled in this enlightening film that shows an often unseen side of their lives while dispelling conceptions the West may have. They are attaining power and respect while maintaining their family duties and continuing to regard men.

Jamilya Al Zaabi is the only women working for an ambulance service saving many lives and has received a personal visit by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; ruler of Dubai. She is windowed and raises five children while working and offers great commentary. Rym Ghazal, a journalist, gives compelling stories of her life and struggles with Tuberculous and leads a life that makes settling down difficult. Ahlam Shalabi left home with nothing, having skills that did not fit a women; without a mans help she has attained astonishing success in business that afforded her the ability to entertain her interest in art. Joanna Maria Lipponnen was raised in Finland and wishes for a strong Arabic man to take care of her.

All these women show their commanding beauty and views of Arabic life. It was also interesting to hear thoughts about what the abaya represents. This film is wonderfully narrated and has beautiful music accompanied by good cinematography; I recommend watching it if you have the opportunity. You can view the trailer on Olga's website. Below is a great interview that Olga gave at the LA Femme Film Festival.