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Fourth Wednesdays at the Trylon

The Mizna Film Series is a monthly selection of programs, marking Mizna’s first venture into year-round curated film programming. While the annual Film Festival organized by the St. Paul-based organization focuses primarily on the works of contemporary artists, the Mizna Film Series provides a space to expand Mizna’s regular film programming to include screenings, critical essays, filmmaker interviews, and discussions exploring revolutionary forms of cinema from the Southwest Asia and North Africa region and beyond. This series is presented virtually and in-person in collaboration with the Trylon Cinema.

For the first screenings, Mizna highlights recently restored classics. Film histories often exclusively highlight the works of Hollywood filmmakers and European auteurs, and these limited histories are maintained through practices of film restoration and preservation. Organizations like Cineteca di Bologna and Janus Films are part of a movement to restore, digitize, distribute, and exhibit films that expand our understanding and vision of cinema’s past.

Mizna kicks off the spring season March 24, 2021 with a screening of An Unusual Summer (2020) by Kamal Aljafari. The spring segment continues April 28 with Al Asleyeen (2017) by Marwan Hamed and May 26 with Empty Metal by Bayley Sweitzer and Adam Khalil. The film selections depict, critique, and engage with the impacts and meaning of surveillance technologies––those we know about, those we only think we know about, and those we willingly participate in every time we pick up our devices. Acknowledging the realities of corporate and governmental forms of surveillance, violence, and control, these films also explore the banality of the modern surveillance state and our complicity within it.

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Upcoming Films in this Series

Wed, May 26


(2018, DCP, 83m) dir Bayley Sweitzer & Adam Khalil (Ojibway) w/ Rose Mori, Sam Richardson, Austin Sley Julian, Pawel Wojtasik. Empty Metal reveals a political fantasy, an alternative reality whose characters teeter on the dull knife edge that is contemporary American politics, but they refuse to fall right or left. Instead, they lash out from the soul, and under the radar, in an attempt to achieve what their mainstream predecessors have yet to accomplish. Empty Metal is a war movie without a war,…

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Past Films in this Series

Starts Wed, February 24


(1970, DCP, 98m) dir Med Hondo w/Robert Liensol, Théo Légitimus, Ambroise M'Bia. A bitterly funny, stylistically explosive attack on Western capitalism and colonialism, Soleil Ô follows a starry-eyed immigrant as he leaves West Africa for Paris in search of a job and cultural enrichment. He soon discovers a hostile society in which his very presence elicits fear and resentment. Hondo deploys an array of narrative and stylistic techniques—animation, docudrama, dream sequences, musical numbers, folklore, slapstick comedy, agitprop—to create a landmark of…

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Starts Wed, March 24


(2020, DCP, 80m) dir Kamal Aljafari. Following an act of vandalism, the Palestinian filmmaker's father decides to install a surveillance camera to record the scenes unfolding in front of the house. Through everyday family life, or neighbors going to work, An Unusual Summer captures fleeting moments of poetry whereas, in the background, the daily choreography of El Ramle under Israeli occupation, comes to the surface. $10 There is a free, virtual discussion with film director Kamal Aljafari and scholar Kareem…

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Starts Wed, April 28


(2017, DCP, 125 mins) dir Marwan Hamed w/ Maged El-Kedwany, Khaled El-Sawy, Menna Shalaby, Kenda Alloush. Samir Eliwa is the head of a small family, an employee in a bank for years, but he suddenly gets fired after a decision to reduce labor, which was a shock he couldn’t face his family with, during his search for a job he discovers that his bank account is depleted, few days later he opens the door to find a box with a…

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