The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni

Rania Stephan  |  Arab Documentary Film Program  |  2009  |  Lebanon
The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is a rapturous elegy to a rich and versatile era of film production in Egypt which has lapsed today, through the work of one of its most revered actresses and stars: Soad Hosni, who from the early 1960s into the 90s, embodied the modern Arab woman in her complexity and paradoxes. Pieced exclusively from VHS footage of Egyptian films starring Soad Hosni, The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is constructed as a tragedy in three acts where the actress tells her dreamed life story in the first person singular. The re-use of fiction, the most compelling register of her work and body over the years, ultimately becomes the closest to a documentary about her life and work. The coarse and scratched visuals are an ode to the VHS tape that revolutionized the wide dissemination of film for home and personal use.