Iris Rubin (Israel) | Israel | 2006 | 73 min | Hebrew and Arabic spoken, English subtitles
Voices from the Middle East, in collaboration with Beeld voor Beeld – Documentary Film Festival on Cultural Diversity.
Rakasa (Arabic: a degrading name for belly dancer) explores the lives of three women, two of them Jewish, the other a Muslim, who have devoted their lives to belly dancing. Alongside the joy and fame their performances provide, and in contrast to the heartwarming applause of their audiences, the dancers also confront, on a daily basis, persistent disrespect, disdain, and sometimes radical objections to their profession and attendant lifestyle. Rakasa presents the lives of these three women fighting for the liberty to dance and for the simple joy it brings them. The film reveals a sumptuous world of colour, poetry, music and rhythm; a sensual and gloriously feminine world, from which emerges a powerful statement of feminist insistence, at once charming, complex and defiant.