Berlinale

Samaher Alqadi – As I Want #Berlinale2021

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19 min. and 16 sec.

Arab Spring and the horror of politically charged sexual terrorism.

Play Podcast
19 min. and 16 sec.

PODCAST | Matt Micucci interviews Samaher Alqadi, director of the film As I Want.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

A conversation with Samaher Alqadi, director of As I Want, from the Encounters section of the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival. This is a powerful documentary about the explosion of politically charged sexual terrorism against women that swept through Cairo’s Tahrir Square in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. In this interview, Alqadi shares her testimony of those days and offers her thoughts on what motivates such violence against women. She also talks about her own journey in making the movie and her use of the camera as a weapon for self-protection.

As I Want: Cairo, January 25, 2013. A string of severe sexual assaults takes place in Tahrir Square on the day of the second anniversary of the revolution. In response, a huge crowd of enraged women surges onto the streets. Samaher Alqadi joins them, taking her camera with her as protection but also to document the protests of a burgeoning women’s rebellion. She has no idea where the story will take her. Samaher’s filming coincides with her falling pregnant, and this prompts her to consider her childhood in Palestine and what it means to be a woman and a mother. She begins an imaginary conversation with her own mother, who dies before she can see her one last time. In an intimate inner dialogue that guides us through the narrative, Samaher starts to form the words that are left unsaid and to share her deepest secrets. She goes on a traumatic visit back to her parent’s house in Ramallah where she conjures up and confronts dark memories of the childhood she has managed to escape. Meanwhile, the struggle in Egypt continues and, even after the birth of her son, Samaher still finds herself on the frontline. As I Want is a crucial, hard-hitting political document, an essay film and an inward journey in which individual emancipation is linked to the collective process of liberation in the Arab world.

  • Reporter
    Matt Micucci
  • Guest
    Samaher Alqadi
  • Interviewee role
    Director
  • Film title
    As I Want
  • Festival section
    Encounters
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