The Poetess

7 March, 2018

Runtime: 89′

Synopsis

The Poetess tells the story of Saudi poetess, Hissa Hilal, who made headlines around the world in 2010, as the first woman to ever make it to the finals of “Million’s Poet”, an Abu-Dhabi based Million Dollar reality television show. It is the Arab world’s biggest poetry competition, and it is dominated by men. In her poems Hissa criticizes the patriarchal Arab society and she attacks one of the most notorious Saudi clerics for his extremist fatwas, live, in front of 75 million viewers. Hissa Hilal is the voice from behind the veil: Her word is her weapon. We’ll never see Hissa’s face. Like the majority of Saudi women, Hissa is covered from head to toe. She is not allowed to drive a car. She doesn’t own a passport. And she requires consent from her husband for any sort of activity. But then, coming out of nowhere, Hissa is suddenly breaking news in the biggest Western and Arab media. How did she gain the knowledge and the courage to step on stage and risk her life?

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Ciné-ONU | UN Cinema screening of The Poetess, by Stéphanie Brockhaus & Andreas Wolff (Image: The Poetess poster)

by Stéphanie Brockhaus & Andreas Wolff

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Background information on the film, topic and speakers

The film was followed by a panel discussion with:

Ryan Killackey

Ryan Killackey

Film Director

Director of ‘Yasuni Man

Maria Cristina Zucco

Maria Cristina Zucco

Legal Officer

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

Fernando Ponz Canto

Fernando Ponz Canto

Deputy Head of Division for Mexico, Central America and Caribbean

European External Action Service (EEAS)

Carlos Jimenez

Carlos Jimenez

Moderator

United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC)

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