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Amari, Raja (1971–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY

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Raja Amari is a Tunisian film director.

PERSONAL HISTORY

Born in 1971 in Tunis, Tunisia, Amari trained as a belly dancer at the Conservatoire de Tunis (Tunis conservatory) and also received a degree in Romance languages with an emphasis on art history from the University of Tunis. After working as a film critic for Cinécrit (1992–1994) she moved on to film studies in Paris at the Institut de Formation et d’Enseignement pour les Métiers de l’Image et Son (National higher institute for audiovisual media studies) between 1994 and 1998.

INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Amari went on to become a film director. She lists as her influences Pier Paolo Pasolini, François Truffaut, and the new French cinema, as well as actresses from Egyptian musicals from the 1940s and 1950s, such as Samia Gamal, whose freedom and ability to shift between Oriental and Occidental styles reflect Amari’s own love of dance.

BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Name: Raja Amari

Birth: 1971, Tunis, Tunisia

Nationality: Tunisian

Education: Studied dance at the Conservatoire de Tunis (Tunis conservatory); graduated from the University of Tunis with a degree in Romance languages with an emphasis on art history; film studies in Paris at the Institut de Formation et d’Enseignement pour les Métiers de l’Image et Son (National higher institute for audiovisual media studies) between 1994 and 1998

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:

  • 1995: Releases film Le bouquet (The Bouquet)
  • 1997: Avril (April)
  • 2000: Un soir de juillet (One Evening in July)
  • 2002: Satin Rouge (Red Satin)

Her short films include Le bouquet (The Bouquet; 1995), Avril (April; 1997), and Un soir de juillet (One Evening in July; 2000). Her award-winning, full-length film Satin Rouge (Red Satin; 2002) focuses on the transformative powers of self-expression, which a middle-aged Tunisian widow, the seamstress Lilia, discovers through belly dancing. Although it is common for Arab and Tunisian films to present women as being in conflict with society, Amari notes she was interested in how Lilia adapts to social hypocrisy, to the distance between individual desire and social mores, doing as she wishes while avoiding a frontal attack.

THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE

Amari became well known after the release of Satin Rouge . It won the Public Prize for the best African film at the 2002 Montréal Film Festival, the New Director’s Showcase Award at the 2002 Seattle International Film Festival, and the Prize of the City of Turin for best international feature film at the 2002 Turin International Festival of Young Cinema.

LEGACY

The world is still waiting for more to come from Amari, and it thus remains too early to assess her long-lasting legacy.

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