In a Sudanese cotton village, 15-year-old Nafisa has a crush on Babiker. Alas, her parents have arranged for her to marry Nadir, a young Sudanese businessman who lives abroad. Nafisa's grandmother Al-Sit, the town's powerful matriarch, has her own plans for Nafisa's future. But can Nafisa decide for herself?
Three Questions for the Director
1. Short Film has a unique way of telling stories and exploring themes. What is it that fascinates you about the short format?
Suzannah Mirghani: Short films are worlds unto themselves—often forming feeling rather than always making meaning. A good short film can distill the intensity of life in a few minutes. It can capture a transient moment that tells you everything you need to know. I love how short films can visually embody the fleeting fluidity of poetry. In a short film’s everything and simultaneous nothingness, I am reminded of a poem by William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence,” in which he writes:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
2. The program your film is selected for is called “Embracing your Instinct”: What connection do you see between your film and that title?
Suzannah Mirghani: My film AL-SIT follows the story of a young girl whose marriage is being negotiated by others in her family—without her input. She becomes like us, an audience member watching her life unfold, wondering what will happen next in her own story. By the end, the human tendency for freedom and personal choice is too overwhelming, and she does indeed embrace her instinct for both rebellion and liberation.
3. What film has inspired you most to make films yourself and what part of it do you see in your own work?
Suzannah Mirghani: If I were to offer a collection of films that have inspired me when making AL-SIT, then I am indebted to the visual poetry of Abbas Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us, Nuri Blige Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, and Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro. Upon first viewing, I knew that these were the kinds of film I loved instinctively. There is so much more being unsaid than there is being shown on screen: a kind of mysticism that is awoken in the viewer. I am most interested in films that deal with the both the mundane and dramatic meetings of modernity and tradition. These films are both time and place. They are an audiovisual record of all that is being lost and all that is coming into being.
Actor: Fatma Farid, Mihad Murtada, Haram Bashir, Murtada Eltayeb, Rabeha Mahmoud, Alsir Mahjoub, Talaat Farid, Mohammed Magdi
Screenplay: Suzannah Mirghani
Director of Photography: Khaid Awad
Producer: Suzannah Mirghani, Eiman Mirghani
Director: Suzannah Mirghani
Sales Agent: Marwan Elshafey, Martina Fiorellino, Suzannah Mirghani
Editor: Suzannah Mirghani, Abdelrahim Kattab
Sound Design: Falah Hannoun
Art Design: Sara Awad
Sound Editing: Falah Hannoun