Habi, The foreigner/ Habi, la extranjera

Monday, Sept. 14 @ 7:00pm
Smathers Library

Argentina, 2013 (92 min)
Spanish w/ English subtitles
Director: María Florencia Álvarez

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 –