Spielzeit 26.08. - 09.10.

Spirit of Islam

A Ruhrtriennale film festival 17th – 19th September

Films from Islamic countries are currently enjoying great success at all the world’s major film festivals.  The independent cinema in great film nations such as Iran and Turkey produces remarkable and exciting films which offer surprising insights into societies which go beyond existing Western clichés.

They tell of spirituality, sexuality, youth culture and women’s football, about the conflicts between tradition and modernity – each from perspectives which are not dictated by the West.

This year’s Ruhrtriennale film programme will highlight these developments and present a broad spectrum of contemporary works within the framework of a three day film festival.  Prize-winning dramas and explosive documentaries will be supplemented by audience discussions with film-makers, writers and media experts and a number of films will have regional premieres as part of the festival.

Against the setting of industrial monuments from the coal mining and steel industries, new films can be seen from directors including Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Reha Erdem, the Bosnian Jasmila Zbanic and the young Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf from the famous film family.  There will also be fantastic Bollywood cinema with the huge star Shahrukh Khan and the film Shahadaby young director Burhan Qurbani, who delighted the audience of this year’s Berlin Film Festival with his graduation film.

The heart of the festival is the ‘Filmwirtschaft’ in the foyer of the Gebläsehalle in the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord.  A place of exchange: this is where the film discussions with directors will take place, you can talk here to other cinemagoers as well as enjoy good Arab, Persian or Turkish food.

Unless otherwise indicated, all films will be shown either in German language versions or with German subtitles.

Festival Programme

Opening 17th September 6.30pm


17th September 7pm

followed by Burhan Qurbani in conversation

Episodic drama about Muslim identity.  Three Muslims from different cultures in the Berlin of mosques and market halls, each in a fateful search for their own place in life.

Germany 2010, 89’, director Burhan Qurbani

Le Grand Voyage 

17th September 9.30pm

Le Grand Voyage (the great journey) does not treat Islam as a religion.  The journey to Mecca is first of all simply a pretext to shut two entirely contrasting characters, a father and a son, together in a car and force them to communicate with each other.  A deeply human film, which disposes of many clichés along the way.

Morocco/France 2004, 108’, director Ismael Ferroukhi


18th September 11am

The film tells of female football fans in Teheran, who want to attend one of the Iranian football team’s qualifying matches for the 2006 World Cup but have to dress up as men to do so because women are banned from the stadium.  Jafar Panahi uses the tools of comedy to describe the reality of his country and has been awarded numerous prizes.

Iran, 2005, director Jafar Panahi

The Other Istanbul 

18th September  1pm

followed by Döndü Kilic in conversation

Istanbul – the city between Occident and Orient – is renowned among insiders as the gay Mecca of Europe.  The film shows young people of different ethnicities and social strata dealing with their homosexuality, the forces of the Turkish state, the military, society, their families – and above all with themselves.

Germany, 2008, 83’, director Döndü Kilic

Platform Discussion Contemporary Cinema In The Islamic World  

18th September, 3pm 

Contemporary Cinema in the Islamic World: Images, Aesthetics, Perspectives.
With: Döndü Kilic, Carolin Emcke and others.

Be Like Others 

18th September  5pm

Original version with English subtitles

The Iranian-American filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian accompanied several young men aged between 20 and 30 who were undergoing sex changes.  While homosexuality in Iran is still punishable by death, thanks to a fatwa - an Islamic legal decree - issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, ‘diagnosed transsexuals’ are permitted to undergo sex changes quite legally: being gay means being transsexual, because only a sex change will secure life and survival in the Islamic republic.

Canada/Iran/GB/USA 2008, 74’, director Tanaz Eshaghian

Green Days 

18th September  7pm

Original version with English subtitles.

followed by Hana Makhmalbaf (tbc) and Carolin Emcke in conversation

The girl Ava has written a play which has yet to be performed.  She is caught up in the pulsating human masses of the 2009 Presidential election campaign and interviews her fellow citizens.  Change and a vision of the future are in the air.  This documentary film by young Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf shows the mass demonstrations during the 2009 Presidential election campaign from a young woman’s perspective.  Winner of the Brave Prize 2009 at the 66th Venice International Film Festival.

Iran 2009, 73’, director Hana Makhmalbaf

Shahida – Brides of Allah 

18th September 8.30pm

Original version with English subtitles

A women’s prison in Israel.  Here Palestinian women are imprisoned who either planned or took part in suicide bombings.  The Israeli filmmaker Natalie Assouline asks the women about their circumstances and their reasons for these attacks.  The Arab women, most of them clever and well-educated and many the mothers of several children, never reveal the motivation for their actions in front of the camera, however.  They form a hierarchical and hermetic circle, in which interviews and gestures appear as if they are controlled remotely from afar.  An approach to an explosive topic which makes a profound impression.

Israel 2008, 75’, director Natalie Assouline

My Name is Khan 

18th September 10.30pm

The great Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan as an autistic Muslim in the United States whose life spins out of control as a result of the repressive political climate following 11th September.  Khan, however, has to take a personal message to the President of the United States.  This is cinema on a grand emotional scale, this time without dance numbers, indebted to Khan’s autism, but equipped with all the ingredients of a passionate Bollywood story.  Shown out of competition at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.

India 2010, 145’, director Karan Johar

Hayat Var – My Only Sunshine 

19th September  12pm

14 year-old Hayat grows up with his taciturn father and asthmatic grandfather in a dilapidated wooden house in the harbour of Istanbul.  His newly married mother has her own worries, the caring woman next door leaves him no privacy.  A visual symphony about an impoverished life by the water, the Bosporus, and its gigantic ships promising great freedom.

Turkey/Greece/Bulgaria 2009, 121’, director Reha Erdem

Three Monkeys – Hear Nothing – See Nothing – Say Nothing

19th September 2.30pm

As a result of a car crash a family slip into an abyss.  A runaway driver and disloyalty leave the protagonists behind locked speechlessly inside themselves.  A modern family drama of stylistic precision and breathtaking images, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, one of Turkey’s most important filmmakers.  Winner of the Golden Palm for Best Director at Cannes in 2008.

Turkey/France/Italy 2008, 109’, director Nuri Bilge Ceylan


19th September  5pm

Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis uses impressively clear and stark black and white drawings to describe the director’s childhood and youth during the Islamic revolution in Iran.  Winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2007.

France 2007, 95’, directors Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi


19th September  7pm

followed by Irene von Albert in conversation

In Tangiers, the gateway between Europe and the Islamic world, a Moroccan girl meets a young couple from Germany.  A multi-layered triangular relationship develops in which money, lies and prostitution inhibit any true friendship, let alone love.  An extraordinarily atmospheric film which provides unadorned insights into the situation of young people in Morocco.

Germany/Morocco 2008, 95’, director Irene von Alberti

Na Putu 

19th September  9pm

The new film by Jasmila Zbanic, winner of the 2008 Golden Bear, is a drama about the young, Western-orientated stewardess Luna and her husband Anwar, who accepts a job in a strictly Muslim Wahhabite community and is consequently alienated from his wife.  The desire for children and different lifestyles meet and lead to conflicts.  A gentle, precisely-observed film which – like Shahada– was shown in competition at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

Bosnia- Herzegovina/Austria/Germany/Croatia 2010, 90’, director Jasmila Zbanic