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Heiny Srour Film Public Lecture


Heiny Srour Film Public Lecture

‘The Hour of Liberation Has Arrived’ is the first film by an Arab female filmmaker from the Third World to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival. This topical film tells an important story, the brightest page in the History of the Arab-Muslim World. The former Liberated Area of Dhofar in the Sultanate of Oman undertook an extraordinary experiment in social egalitarianism and total secularism.

The Popular Front of the Occupied Arab Gulf liberated women before achieving victory, unlike other liberation movements that used the energy of women to move quickly, and once in power returned them to their past oppression. The Front rejected the fame of token women and undertook massive grassroots action among men, women, and children on the issue of women’s liberation. The backbone of the Liberated Zone is the People’s Liberation Army, men and women who barefoot, without rank nor salary, freed a third of the territory while building the country’s first road, first hospital, pilot farm, waterhole, and a school where children learned self-management and democracy. All this was done in close collaboration with the People’s Militia, the second armed wing of the Front. This film documents the blueprint and transition from oppression to a free and dignified society.

This film is the only visual documentation of the uprising the war crimes of the British Army in Oman, inside the Liberated Area of Dhofar. In another first in the history of World Cinema, the director and her team walked 800 km of desert and mountains, under Royal Air Force bombardment to reach the Red Line combat zone. For the first time in Arab Cinema, the voiceless were able to speak thanks to synch sound. A solar battery was used to power the camera an innovation of cameraman Michel Humeau. This technique, used only by NASA at the time, was dangerous because this mirror attracted bombardments by the RAF. This was also the first time, the only time to date, that a film tells the whole truth about Arab oil, a key factor in so much of what happens in the Middle East.