Sacred Music Festival Screening: Bab’Aziz – The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul

Thursday, September 20, 2012
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor (b/w Broad & Broadway), Lower Manhattan
Admission: Tickets: $5 General | Free forAlwan members

Presented in Collaboration with the Sacred Music Festival 2012, presented by Alwan for the Arts.

Since 2007, this annual festival has celebrated the sacred music of the greater Middle East, North Africa, and South Asian regions. Previous years have featured musical performances from an array of spiritual traditions, including Hindu hymns, Gnawan trance music, and chants from the Byzantine Church. This year’s festival focuses on Sufism, the mystical, esoteric dimension of Islam, as manifested in non-traditional and traditional musical forms.

Encompassing wide stretches of geography and time, these performances are unified by their invocation of the state of longing for spiritual union with the divine.

To complement these concerts, 3rd i NY was invited to screen a film exploring the theme of Sufism. We will be screening Bab’Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul, a haunting feature film about spiritual devotion among Sufis by writer and director Nacer Khemir, and featuring original music by Armand Amar.

Bab’Aziz – The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul / Bab’Aziz – Le Prince Qui Contemplait Son Âme (Nacer Khemir, Tunisia, 2006, 96 min, in Arabic & Persian with English subtitles)

Poetic and multi-layerd, Bab’Aziz – The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul is the latest film from Tunisian writer and director Nacer Khemir. The story unfolds as the blind dervish Bab’Aziz (Parviz Shahinkhou) and his granddaughter Ishtar (Maryam Hamid) cross the desert in search of the great reunion of dervishes that takes place only once every thirty years. Side-by-side, the old man and the child wander for days across wide seas of sand with only their faith to guide them. To entertain his granddaughter, Bab’Aziz tells an ancient story of a prince who abdicated his kingdom in order to spend his days staring into a pool of water in spiritual contemplation. As the story of the prince unfolds, the pair encounter other travelers, each with stories, quests, and mysteries of his own. Nacer Khemir’s enchanting film explores timeless themes of love, longing, and faith with powerful storytelling, breathtaking images and and haunting original music by composer Armand Amar.


About the Filmmaker

Nacer Khemir (born 1948, Korba, Tunisia) also directed Les Baliseurs du Désert (Wanderers of the Desert), which won the Grand Prix of the Festival des Trois Continents in 1984, and Le Collier Perdu de la Colombe (The Dove’s Lost Necklace), which was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Festival del film Locarno in 1991. In addition to filmmaking, Khemir is also a sculptor, storyteller, and published author.

3rdi NY Film Programming is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by New York State Council on the Arts, and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, both in partnership with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Alwan for the Arts hosts our monthly screenings series. We are thankful to the SINGH Foundation for acting as our fiscal sponsor.

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