Dancing on the Edge Urgent artistic dialogues with the middle east

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A Candle For The Shabandar Café

Emad Ali

Emad Ali (Iraq) | Iraq | 2007| 25 min | Arabic spoken, English subtitles

After the War, in collaboration with Beeld voor Beeld – Documentary Film Festival om Cultural Diversity

Founded in 1917, Shabandar Cafe was a cultural landmark in the old centre of Baghdad, where generations of Iraqis came to discuss literature and politics. Emad Ali had shot most of his film about the cafe when a massive car bomb destroyed it, leaving many people dead or wounded. He took a small camera to film the wake that was held a few days later by Baghdad’s poets and artists in the ruins of the street. As he was leaving, he was attacked. His camera was stolen and he was shot in the legs and chest. Thus, his personal story became an epilogue to the film about the Shabandar Cafe and Mutanabbi Street – before and after they were destroyed.