When Arabs DancedJawad Rhalib

Fundamentalists have greatly changed the Muslim world. A liberated way of enjoying your body and culture has been restricted, seemingly without much resistance from the population. In 'When Arabs Danced', Moroccan-Belgian filmmaker Jawad Rhalib gives a voice to this silent minority who, against the current, continue to oppose radicalization.

The mother of Moroccan-Belgian filmmaker Jawad Rhalib (Le Chant des Tortues, Les Damnés de la Mer) was a belly dancer. In a not so distant past, this Arab dance symbolised sensuality and femininity. Fundamentalists, in the name of Allah, then labeled dancing, music and other artistic expression as unclean. Rhalib was taught that he should be ashamed of his mother. What are the effects of this radical turnaround for dancers and artists in the Arab world? Will they continue and fight for the freedom of expression or will some self-censorship seep into their work? With testimonies from the Belgian playwrights of action zoo humaine, actress Hiam Abbass (Insyriated), Iranian-Belgian playwright Sachli Gholamalizad and his own mother, Jawad Rhalib shows how artists throughout the Arab world oppose and seek to an answer to this attack on (artistic) freedom.

Religion Other cultures Society Dutch spoken or subtitled

Vertoond op editie(s) 2019
Screened at edition(s) 2019


Directed by Jawad Rhalib
2018 84 min.
Arabisch, Frans, Engels
Subtitles: Dutch, English


Belgian selection


Jawad Rhalib


Bart Maes, Jawad Rhalib

Production company

Zonderling, R&R Productions


François Schmitt


Stijn Deconinck


Simon Fransquet

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