Habi, The Foreigner
Spanish with English subtitles.
Director/Writer: María Florencia Álvarez Producers: Lita Stantic, Hugo Sigman, Walter Salles Cinematographer: Julián Apezteguía Editor: Eliane D. Katz Music: Santiago Pedroncini Cast: Martina Juncadella, Martín Slipak, Lucía Alfonsín, María Luisa Mendonça
Analía is a 20-year-old girl from a small town in Argentina who travels to Buenos Aires to deliver some handicrafts for her mother. By chance, an address mix-up leads her to a Muslim neighbourhood where she finds herself taking part in a ritual completely unknown to her. She is given several objects that seem to harbour a mysterious message: these include a tunic, a map and a recipe in Farsi. Enthralled by the new world she has entered, Analía decides to change her identity, and she begins to dress, speak and act like a young Muslim woman. She takes on the name Habiba Rafat, a decision that will have consequences beyond anything she could have imagined.
Álvarez sensibly eschews the penchant for exoticism prevalent in Western cinema, which so often results in simplistic representations of Islam as either threatening or misunderstood. Giovanni Marchini, Film Comment
Analía, una chica de provincia de 20 años de edad, viaja a la ciudad de Buenos Aires con el fin de repartir unas artesanías. Mientras cumple su tarea, llega por error a un velorio musulmán. Desconcertada, aunque fascinada, participa del rito y recibe pertenencias de la difunta. Guiada por el camino de su curiosidad y deseo, Analía comienza a frecuentar una Mezquita, después consigue trabajo en un súper-mercado Árabe y, al azar, elige el nombre “Habiba Rafat” para ella misma, y bajo esta identidad vivirá nuevas experiencias.
María Florencia Álvarez (b. 1977, Buenos Aires, Argentina) has directed several short films including Sobre la tierra (2003), which had its premiere at the Rotterdam Film Festival, and won 14 international awards. Habi, la extranjera, her first feature film, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2013.
Community Partner: Women in Film & Television Vancouver (WIFTV)