Fans and followers of indie filmmaker Whit Stillman are likely to be struck by Zeina Durra’s “The Imperialists Are Still Alive!,” a new feature film about a group of modern, upwardly mobile New Yorkers. In fact, Stillman even has a cameo in the film, which debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival.
This Thursday at 8 p.m., indieWIRE is hosting the first New York City public screening of “The Imperialists Are Still Alive!” on the opening night of the 2nd Northside Festival of music and film in Brooklyn, presented by The L Magazine. The special showing, with filmmaker Zeina Durra on hand for a post-screening Q & A, will take place at the new Williamsburg cinema, indieScreen (285 Kent Ave at S 2nd St).
Tickets are on sale now.
“A successful visual artist working in post-9/11 Manhattan, Asya (Elodie Bouchez) lives the life of the hip and glamorous, replete with exclusive art parties, supermodels, and stretch limousines, while she carefully follows the situation in the Middle East on television,” described the Sundance Film Festival, in a catalog listing for the film this year, “Out partying one night, Asya learns that her childhood friend, Faisal, has disappeared—the victim of a purported CIA abduction. That same night, she meets Javier (José María de Tavira), a sexy Mexican PhD student, and romance blossoms.”
“Javier finds Asya’s conspiracy theories overly paranoid—but nothing in Asya’s world is as it seems,” continued the Sundance description, “Zeina Durra’s atmospheric debut feature is a splendidly alluring and intelligent look at the way the war on terror seeps into the texture of everyday American life. Gorgeous 16 mm grain imbues the film with an anachronistic feel that interestingly evokes times past. ‘The Imperialists Are Still Alive!’ is an exceptional work and heralds the arrival of Durra as an exciting new directorial talent.”
Born and raised in London, Zeina Durra studied graduate filmmaking at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Growing up in a family of television news people, she was always comfortable with cameras. Meanwhile, with a Bosnian/Palestinian mother and a Jordanian/Lebanese father, Durra was linked to topical international events.
“I wanted to tell the story of a woman who is of predominately Arab descent brought up in Europe, living in New York City in the way that I see her,” Durra told indieWIRE in a pre-Sundance interview earlier this year.
“She is not estranged from the Middle East nor an outsider in Paris or New York,” Durra said of her film’s character, “She navigates all these spaces with familiarity and confidence. The idea that Arabs or Muslims brought up in the West find themselves constantly torn between their roots and their ‘Western’ lives, has always annoyed me since I have never related to that conflict.” She continued, “The milieu in which I grew up produced a different type of person; a wanderer, who views the world as their home and all the things that other people may view as contradictions are simply normality for them. As a result the ‘contradictions’ in their lives lose meaning and are transformed into a synthesis of experience. This film is also told through the perspective of a woman. It’s something I took for granted when I wrote it, being the product of a feminist education, I never thought twice about how different this character was to the normal portrayal of women on screen.”
Written and directed by Zeina Durra, “The Imperialists Are Still Alive!” stars Elodie Bouchez, Jose Maria de Tavira, and Karim Saleh. It was produced by Vanessa Hope, with cinematography by Magela Crosignani, editing by Michael Taylor, production design by Jade Healy.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
“The Imperialists Are Still Alive”
hosted by indieWIRE at the Northside FilmFest (presented by The L Magazine)
Q & A with filmmaker Zeina Durra moderated by indieWIRE editor Eugene Hernandez
indieScreen (285 Kent Ave at S 2nd St)
Tickets available now.
More on the film here at indieWIRE.