Trailer Tuesday - The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni

The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni by Rania Stephan is an homage to one of Egypt's iconic cinema stars. Soad Hosni appeared in more than 80 movies between 1959 and 1991. She died in 2001 in London after falling off the building she was living in. Her death was ruled as a suicide, although many believe there were mysterious circumstances that led to her death. 

The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is a compilation of VHS footage of movie scenes she starred in, constructed as a tragedy in three acts. It was screened at the Sharjah Biennial 10 earlier this year, but I never got a chance to see it. Since then, it's been screening at various festivals and I hope and pray it will be part of this year's Dubai International Film Festival.  

The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is a rapturous elegy to a rich and versatile era of film production in Egypt which has lapsed today, through the work of one of its most revered actress and star: Soad Hosni, who from the early 1960 into the 90s, embodied the modern Arab woman in her complexity and paradoxes.

Born in Cairo in 1943, Soad Hosni committed suicide in London in 2001. Between the ages of 19 to 49, she played in eighty-two feature films with thirty-seven directors. Inspired by her rags to riches story, she was given the nickname ‘The Cinderella of Arab cinema’; she was the daughter, sister, friend, fiancée, lover and wife to illustrious stars of Egyptian cinema when it was the chief purveyor of cinematic fiction in the Arab world.

Pieced exclusively from VHS footage of Egyptian films starring Soad Hosni, The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni is constructed as a tragedy in three acts where the actress tells her dreamed life story in the first person singular. The re-use of fiction, the most compelling register of her work and body over the years, ultimately becomes the closest to a documentary about her life and work. The coarse and scratched visuals are an ode to the VHS tape that revolutionised the wide dissemination of film for home and personal use.

Irreverent, playful, marvelous and serious, The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni underscores the saving grace of fiction. In seventy-minutes, the film proposes a singular and poetic rewriting of a golden period of Egyptian cinema, enacted by Soad Hosni, an exceptional artist, tragic star and symbol of modern Arab womanhood. (Synopsis via

Read this interview with the director Rania Stephan where she discusses the movie and her reasons for doing it.