Hussein Shariffe: Of Dust and Rubies


OF DUST AND RUBIES, A FILM ON SUSPENSION, Tamer El Said, Germany 2020, Digital file, OV, 49 min
DIARY IN EXILE, Hussein Shariffe, Atteyat Al Abnoudy, Sudan 1993, OV/EnS, 52 min
Sep 3, 2021 15:15 Arsenal Cinema, from Sep 4 on arsenal 3

In 2000 the Sudanese filmmaker, painter, and poet Hussein Shariffe (1934–2005) began working on his final film OF DUST AND RUBIES. The filming was done at locations in Egypt, where he had been living in exile for 10 years due to his stance toward the Sudanese regime. His sudden death brought his work to an abrupt end and since then OF DUST AND RUBIES has remained incomplete, a film in a state of perpetual suspension. In 2018 a group of five individuals came together – including Shariffe’s daughter Eiman Hussein as well as the film’s main actor Tala Afifi – to discuss how the work of this exceptional director could be presented to the world. Among the results of this meeting is the film OF DUST AND RUBIES, A FILM ON SUSPENSION by Tamer El Said. 

There will also be a screening of DIARY IN EXILE, about the situation of Sudanese exiles in Egypt, which Shariffe shot in 1993 in collaboration with the documentary filmmaker Atteyat Al Abnoudy. The documentary film uses a combination of sound, image, colour and peoples testimonies to historically account for the period following the fundamentalist military coup in the Sudan in 1989. This period witnessed the migration of a staggering number of Sudanese from their country to all parts of the World. The greater majority of Sudanese migrants headed to Egypt, where the film was shot. Moving between different strata of Sudanese communities in Egypt the film, through various personal testimonies, throws light on the living conditions of ordinary people. All provide pieces of the saga, all have taken refuge in Egypt. All dream of returning back to Sudan, one day.

With: Tamer El Said (filmmaker), Eiman Hussein (psychotherapist, daughter of Hussein Shariffe), Talal Afifi (Sudan Film Factory), Haytham El-Wardany (author), Erica Carter (King’s College London) and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus