The Netflix press release for the collection, which was released on July 7th, states: "Women filmmakers have beautiful, complex, and nuanced stories to tell – stories which have the power to resonate with people not just in the Arab world, but across the globe. Arab women have been telling these stories for decades."
Nowhere is the power of women filmmakers more highlighted than in the Arab world. Here is one arena where they are plentiful, well respected and frankly at times much more nuanced than their male counterparts.
Starting this month, Netflix is celebrating these stories and storytellers by releasing a catalog of 21 films by female filmmakers spanning various genres including documentary, drama, and romance, via a dedicated collection titled ‘Because She Created’.
The collection includes the works of critically acclaimed directors from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Tunis, and celebrates the creativity of the Arab world’s greatest female storytellers. While these stories are distinctly and authentically Arab, the themes will resonate with women across the world, uniting women from all walks of life through beautiful and poignant series and film.
Among our favourites are Let’s Talk by Marianne Khoury, a documentary which dives into the life of legendary Egyptian Director Youssef Chahine, from a very personal POV; Suha Arraf’s haunting story Villa Touma, a Palestinian drama highlighted by humour on the lives of three sisters who appear to be living in the 1970's; Leyla Bouzid’s A Tale of Love and Desire which continues to garner fans around the world, both in film festivals and in cinema halls; and Nadine Khan's 2012 Chaos, Disorder on a Cairo woman's love triangle starring Ayten Amer.
Also notable is Moufida Fedhila's Aya, starring Afef Ben Mahmoud, a social issues drama about a young girl whose dreams of a normal childhood are sabotaged by the fanatic beliefs of her father.
A total of 21 films available in the MENA, while not all viewable around the world. According to Netflix, when we reached out to ask, the titles available "depends on the licensing agreement with the distributor but there are at least 8 available globally."
The collection features many other stories that amplify the work of Arab women behind the camera, amplifying underrepresented voices and giving more people a chance to see their lives reflected on screen.
Netflix launched the ‘Because She Created’ platform last year as a virtual panel discussion hosting Arab women filmmakers to talk about the evolving role of women in the Arab film industry.
To view, check out the collection on Netflix.