I’m Here


Country of Production: Lebanon
Year of Production: 2011
Running time: 4min
Language of dialogue: no dialogue
Synopsis: Muslim women are tied down by society’s accepted but non-Islamic gender roles; customs pre-determine what is to be expected of them, what the hijab entails and where women stand in the ranking system.
Director: Jude Chehab

“I made ´I’m Here´ because it is hard for most veiled muslim women to find jobs around the world. Employers and companies or general people are always judging them for the scarf on their heads – the way they are dressed. “I’m Here” defies these boundaries. It’s uneasy and uncomfortable to watch, but as the Muslim women break themselves free, they speak proudly of their professions without uttering a word.”

Screening time: SATURDAY, 9 July, Bór Zapilski 14:30 – 16:00 (Screening D)

Screening D, all films:

I’m Here, Lebanon, 4min
ZOE, Germany, 9min
Veterani 2. svetovej vojny, Slovakia, 71min

Review

Lebanese director Jude Chehab shows us a group of muslim women who are tied to chairs and wearing traditional hijab clothing. Hijab is arabic and literally means a curtain or cover. As the helpless women struggle for their liberties it quickly becomes clear that in ”I’m Here” the word means a lot more.

Arabic women are limited by their society. They don’t have the freedom to truly be themselves or to pursue their dreams. Instead they are bound by customary gender roles and their aspirations suppressed.

By ”I’m Here” Chehab points out that for a veiled woman it’s hard to get a proper job almost anywhere in the world. This is due to the fact that people are generally judging them by the way they are dressed.

The women slowly break free from their bonds and start to reveal their faces. Expressions tell of the relief they experience as they transform into representatives of freedom. Finally they can do and be what they always wanted without any kind of chains – invisible or visible – hindering them.

”I’m Here” is 4-minute film with a strong message that needs no dialogue to be delivered.
- Sakari Määttä