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M{if} Discourse Series: Heiny Srour Masterclass



\\ At Museum of Impossible Forms, Kontula

In collaboration with Academy of Moving People and Images & Aalto University/Critical Cinema Lab

Curated by Ahmed Al-Nawas

Museum of Impossible Forms in collaboration with Academy of Moving People and Images and Aalto University/ Critical Cinema Lab, warmly welcomes filmmaker Heiny Srour to Helsinki. Heiny Srour (1945) is one of the important female filmmakers in the Third Cinema movement of the 70s.

Born in 1945 in Beirut, Srour studied sociology at the American University in Beirut and then completed a doctorate in social anthropology at the Sorbonne, and worked as a journalist and film critic. It was there that her interest in Third World Cinema evolved, with a focus in examining the role of Arab women in Revolutions. She has made films in Oman, Vietnam, and the struggle of the Palestine people. Her first film, ‘Bread of Our Mountains’ (1968) was lost during the Lebanese Civil War. In 1974, her film Saat El Tahrir Dakkator ‘The Hour of Liberation Has Arrived’ was selected to compete at the Cannes Film Festival, making Srour the first Arab woman to have a film selected for the international festival. 

Srour believes that Arab society oppressed women and kept them in a subordinate role, which prevented them from opportunities to create art. Srour advocated for women's rights through her films, her writing, and by funding other filmmakers.Srour has been vocal about the position of women in Arab society, and in 1978, along with Tunisian director Salma Baccar and Arab cinema historian Magda Wassef, she announced a new assistance fund "for the self-expression of women in cinema."

Heiny Srour will conduct a Masterclass, titled ‘SHOOTING UNDER DANGER. SHOOTING IN THE SITUATION OF A PIONEER’ and a screening of her film ‘Leila and the Wolves’, with 30 participants on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.

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Heiny Srour will screen and extensively discuss her second film ‘Leila and the Wolves’ (1984), an extraordinary film that is fiercely anti-colonial, witty, magical and horrifying. It interweaves contemporary and historical archive footage within fiction and fable-esque modes of storytelling to deliver a powerful political critique. The film discusses the political struggles of women in Palestine (and in Lebanon) within and against “heroic” histories made by men. The film was filmed in often-treacherous areas, and lasted seven years. In the film, the character Leila time travels though the 1900s to the 1980s, with each decade focusing on how Arab women are victims. The film won the ‘Grand Prize’ in the Third World competition at the International Film festival Mannheim-Heidelberg.

The Masterclass requires pre-registration.

Email a brief statement of intent and email it at, with the subject line Masterclass with Heiny Srour

Deadline for participation is 31.08.2019.

Participants will be selected by Heiny Srour.

Also check out out second event with Heiny Srour on Thursday, September 5, 2019  – Film-Screening of ‘The Hour of Liberation Has Arrived’ (1974) followed by a Public Lecture, and a light dinner with the filmmaker.


  • All film-screenings, Masterclass and Public Lecture will take place at the Museum of Impossible Forms, Kontula.

  • Film-Screenings and Public Lecture are free and open to all.

  • *Masterclass requires pre-registration.

Museum of Impossible Forms is a cultural space, located in Kontula, Helsinki. It is a contested Space and it represents a contact zone, a space of unlearning, formulating identity constructs, norm-critical consciousness and critical thinking. Impossible Forms are those that erase and facilitate the process of transgressing the boundaries/borders between art, politics, practice, theory, the artist and the spectator. For 2019-2020, the Museum operates under the curatorial theme of ‘The Atlas of Lost Beliefs (For Insurgents, Citizens and Untitled Bodies)’ 

Museum of Impossible Formsis a safer space. It follows safer space policiesto create a welcoming, inclusive, awesome environment.

Events at the Museum of Impossible Forms are completely free and accessible without prior booking.

Museum of Impossible Forms is accessible by lift with thresholds up to 4cm on the way. The toilet has no thresholds but is not spacious enough to meet accessibility standards. The nearest accessible toilet is located at Kontula metro station.

For directions, please refer to this Map.