Much of the material related to the first female cine-workers in Iran and Egypt is not centrally curated in an archive but scattered across a variety of platforms, personal collections, books, databases, and other locations. The scattered nature of these sources reflects current practices of official state film archives in Egypt and Iran, and also connects to the lived realities of female cine-workers in the way that their unruly bodies often dissonated with the national film narratives with which they were expected to align and to represent, and experienced stigma as a result. I take this scattering seriously to propose “gathering despite scattering,” a decolonial and feminist method of constructing the archives that form the basis of our historical analysis. Gathering despite scattering embraces the corporeal, learns from provenance, and challenges the national and Eurocentric frameworks that have often strictured the histories of cinema in places like Egypt and Iran.

At the beginning of Marianne Khoury’s 2002 documentary-within-a-film, ‘Ashiqāt al-Sīnimā [Women Who Loved Cinema], filmmaker Nadia Wassef confronts the difficulty of the task ahead of her. “I am trying to make a film about female Egyptian film pioneers (ra’idāt)…with each day that passes, I feel that the problems that I encounter increasingly keep me from the film I want to make,” she admits. We soon learn what problems she is referring to when, while trying to do research at a library in Cairo, Nadia is unable to locate anything in its holdings related to early Egyptian cinema. Though the librarian tells her that Egypt’s National Archives have film periodicals from that time, neither of them think to broach the subject of how Nadia might access the notoriously inaccessible institution.

In what follows, Nadia sets out to learn about Egypt’s first female filmmakers through other means. She goes to Sūr al-Azbakiyya, a famous used book market where she comes upon a vendor selling film songbooks and periodicals. She finds a church whose library contains scrapbooks of magazine and newspaper clippings on Egypt’s first women in cinema. She conducts oral histories with several female actresses who, unlike their male counterparts, have not written memoirs or been the subjects of critical writing on Egyptian film history. She ventures to neighborhoods in Cairo and other cities in Egypt where these filmmakers lived at various points in their lives to see whether current residents have any information or memories of them. On each visit, Nadia ultimately comes upon a resident who knows something about the female cine-worker in question. Yet she is struck by how few have even heard of these filmmakers and by the overall absence of signs, plaques, and other markers officially commemorating their work, although plaques celebrating important cultural and political figures are common in Egypt. Nadia remarks on this amnesia in a conversation with a local of the neighborhood of Damietta where the so-called mother of Egyptian cinema, Aziza Amir, grew up. “Usually, people take pride in the fact that a great artist lived nearby but no one remembers her…why isn’t the road named after her?” Nadia asks. “People from Damietta are like that, if a woman works in cinema, they shun her,” he replies.1

As Nadia discovers, material about female workers in early Egyptian cinema is not centrally curated in one archive or library but scattered across a variety of personal collections, unofficial archives, memories, books, databases, YouTube, and other locations. The fact that Nadia doesn’t consider trying to obtain information from the National Archives reflects the haphazard practices of official state film archiving in Egypt in 2002. Two decades later in 2024, these conditions have not really changed.2 In many cases, films are neglected and not easily accessible, not necessarily organized in a single space, or no longer extant.3 As Nadia learns through her gathering of these scattered sources, the stigma that early female filmmakers faced has, over time, resulted in their (un)intentional exclusion and scattering beyond the boundaries of official Egyptian film histories.

While scattering in the case of Egypt is a result of archival negligence, a state’s attempts to tightly control a national cinema history can have similar effects.4 In Iran, for example, the government’s investment in its version of an Iranian national cinema has given rise to the scattering of early female film artists in other ways. Like in Egypt, stigma partly drives this scattering in Iranian cinema history: in some cases, actresses are scattered because of erasure from official film histories for retroactively violating the state’s post-1979 Islamic framework for cinema, while others have scattered themselves to avoid harassment. In the case of the female star of the first Persian talkie Ruhangiz Sāminezhād, the organizing efforts of Iranian state archives and narratives thwarted her attempt to leave the spotlight of film history.5 As the first female star of the first Iranian sound film, Sāminezhād—her voice, star image, and memories—have proven far too valuable for official and unofficial histories of Iranian cinema to be left alone.

What would it mean to embrace the scattered nature of the material on female cine-workers in contexts such as Egypt and Iran for what it can tell us about a decolonial, feminist practice of film curation? Feminist Lebanese director Heiny Srour’s words serve as a powerful rejoinder. She explains, “our societies have been too lacerated and fractured by colonial power to fit into…neat scenarios. We have enormous gaps in our societies and film has to recognize this.”6 In this essay, I demonstrate how Srour’s thoughts are also relevant to the feminist film historian as she encounters issues that are largely endemic to film-related archival material in the contexts of which Srour speaks. These include issues related to access, lost and/or fragmented sources, neglect, amnesia, and the potential political repercussions and personal risk of doing research in certain places.7 Srour’s praxis is also crucial to the feminist film historian as she endeavors to be part of efforts to decolonize film historiographical and curatorial practices.

In this essay I propose a seemingly paradoxical method of “gathering despite scattering” (referred to as “gathering” throughout), a decolonial and feminist approach to curation that thinks with the largely decentralized nature of material related to early female cine-workers in places like Egypt and Iran. From Srour’s emphasis on fragmentation, I return to the word scattering, in the way that scattering can be understood as active fragmentation across space, and a method of curation that can involve gathering otherwise scattered materials, bodies, texts, and so on into a narrative mosaic (as per Viviane Saglier’s analysis of Srour’s work).8 I focus specifically on the scattered presence of Egyptian film artist Bahiga Hafez, and the female star of the first Persian talkie, Ruhangiz Sāminezhād, across texts, platforms, and other spaces as actresses in films, subjects of articles, and voices in interviews.9 I center these particular women for the practical reason that materials about their lives and work are extant and available, but also to show how a method of gathering can embrace their conflicting wishes for how film history should treat them.

Rather than stay within the epistemic worlds circumscribed by the English language in thinking of gathering and scattering, I follow the etymological paths along which their counterparts in Arabic and Persian can take us. With its three-letter root f-r-q (ف ر ق), the Arabic word mutafarraq “scattered” connects to meanings of paradox, difference, separation, and diversity. Scattering’s shared root with dispersal, tafrīq, moreover, leads us beyond seemingly stable linguistic, national, and regional borders to explore how mutafarraq becomes mediated into Persian as mutafarraq kardan/shodan (to scatter, to be scattered), specifically as it pertains to the scattering of people/bodies. Meanwhile, the Arabic verb “to gather” jama‘a and its three-letter root of the j-m-‘ (ج-م-ع) connects to collecting, convening, assembling, linking, and uniting, and is dispersed into Persian as jam‘ kardan. These meanings of jama‘a distinguish gathering from the colonial and state curatorial practices of tracking down, extracting, organizing, objectifying, and granting access only to a privileged few. They connect to the narrative mosaic style that feminist filmmakers like Srour create in their emphasis on assembling without erasing difference (as a method that is only focused on representation might do).10 The paradox between gathering and scattering is the essential tension that animates this method of curation; it seeks material with which we can learn about the cine-worker while she defies these attempts to define her. As she moves across (con)texts, I show how the female cine-worker defies national, colonial, and Western expectations and their patriarchal and capitalist structures.

As a decolonial praxis, gathering thinks about the way in which various political projects have curated the Middle Eastern female body for the maintenance of Eurocentric frameworks and the forces of capitalism. A complex tangle that includes funding, audience expectations, liberal sensibilities, and pedagogy that treats cinema ethnographically has affected the way in which women from the Middle East are often mediated for the Anglophone North. For example, Laura U. Marks has observed a dynamic in which curators from the United States and Europe swoop “down on the [Middle East] looking for palatable and marketable packages” of cinema and other art.11 What is considered palatable and marketable has, in turn, affected the stylistic and narrative choices among filmmakers in the region in their efforts to secure funding and acceptance. Bill Nichols, for example, has shown how films from Iran on the film festival circuit often position audiences as tourists or ethnographers, ushering them into an unfamiliar world that includes “veiled women” while affirming seemingly universal values.12

The more contemporary curatorial practices that Marks and Nichols identify emerge out of a long and well-documented history of mediation that Edward Said first famously articulated in outlining his theory of Orientalism. As an expressly decolonial method, gathering follows Said’s critique and addresses how colonial forces historically implicated the female body in their political projects and cinemas. Scholars have demonstrated how, in places like Egypt and Iran, the Muslim/brown female body in need of “saving” has consistently served as justification for (neo)colonial violence.13 In terms of cinema specifically, Ella Shohat reminds us that cinema “inherited and disseminated” this colonial discourse partly due to the inextricable relationship between the medium’s beginnings and the “giddy heights of imperialism.”14 Shohat shows how what she calls colonialist films empower the viewer to expose, possess, penetrate, and completely know their female subjects, who serve as metaphors for an undifferentiated Orient.15 At the same time, nascent national film industries in places like Egypt and Iran often positioned their actresses and female characters in similar ways; since discussions over what constituted national identity unfolded on women’s bodies, actresses and other female cine-workers became enmeshed in efforts to frame cinema as a respectable and serious medium worthy of state support in anti- and postcolonial and imperial contexts.16

The presence of female bodies on screen proved pivotal to colonial and national dynamics. Yet being pressured not to be visible and to not act in movies is a consistent narrative among female performers in the Egyptian and Iranian film industries, both in their industrializing years and beyond. In her work on early cinema in India, Debashree Mukherjee notes how the “charged social body of the film actress” was an obsession of public concerns.17 This double-bind was true in Egypt and Iran, manifest in the way that contemporaneous articles on actresses in star magazines such as Egyptian al-Kawākib (“The Stars”) and Iranian Setāreh-ye Sinamā (“Cinema Star”) consistently remark on how many of these cine-workers were disowned and otherwise shunned by their families and communities for appearing on screen. As part of theorizing a feminist and decolonial method of gathering, what would it mean to engage with this contradiction and familiar narrative of stigma as inextricable from “the aesthetic celebration of the vital female body”?18 Stigma, as Anupama Rao notes, “is a form of embodiment that cannot be abstracted or universalized.”19 What if we were to think of this material dimension of stigma as unruliness and charged (per Mukherjee), always scattering from the centralizing and universalizing impulses of colonial and national narratives, as well as the ethnographic tendencies of her viewers, curators, and historians?

Gathering foregrounds the stigma faced by female cine-workers as a form of mediation to remind us of their laboring bodies and the threat they pose to colonial and national forces.20 In theorizing gathering, therefore, I invoke “cine-worker,” a term formulated by Debashree Mukherjee who emphasizes how “a bodily [my emphasis] orientation toward cinema…binds all cine-workers.”21 Gathering departs from how the field of star studies has historically approached its archives and stars as one-dimensional and smooth immaterial texts and surfaces, and instead “[draws] our gaze…to the depth of the performing body beneath its ideological inscriptions” to appreciate the significance of her “sweat underneath the studio lights.”22 As such, gathering is in productive dialogue with the frictions that the female cine-worker creates through her scattering, embracing her “infiltrations and usurpations” as demanding our “epistemic humility and tentativeness.”23 A key tension emerges when we insist on the cine-worker’s corporeality in this curatorial and historiographical practice. As she scatters despite our gathering efforts, the female cine-worker jams the colonial, national, commercial, and Orientalist systems and structures that seek to extract legitimacy from her.

Gathering is a mode of speculative feminist film curation kindred to speculative historiographical approaches that Allyson Nadia Field describes as “work that challenges the empirical, leans into the unverifiable, engages the absent, and trains a lens on the unseeable.”24 Gathering trains the spotlight on female cine-workers such as Bahiga Hafez who died in obscurity, were shunned due to stigma, and whom film histories often overlooked. Yet as part of its critique of colonial and national representational obsessions, gathering engages with the assumption that visibility is the desired outcome of a feminist practice of curation and historiography. Gathering challenges the ocular-centrism present across many academic disciplines and emphasizes all dimensions of sensorium in its focus on the body of the female cine-worker as part of telling a corporeal history.25 It listens to Hafez and Sāminezhād as they recount their memories and express their regrets in interviews decades after they appeared in cinema, an approach that contrasts with the representational logics of extractive curatorial practices like those of “tracking down” to subsequently put on display.26

Gathering is also decolonial in its interrogation of the national and other colonially imposed borders that often stricture film curational practices. Though Egypt and Iran and the female cine-workers I focus on in this essay may seem disconnected, gathering brings our attention to what Ravi Vasudevan calls the “lines of dispersal” that transgress boundaries of national cinema frameworks and colonial mappings that have largely informed the presentation and scholarly study of cinema in the region.27 These include routes created by colonialism, imperialism, diaspora, translation, precolonial trade, war, and revolution, many of which are intimately connected to the networks of cinema not just between Egypt and other cinema centers in the Arabic-speaking world, but also with Iran. In the early twentieth century, film industries in Cairo and Tehran emerged in relation to one another through the exchange of technical knowledge, films, and stars, despite these cinema’s expressly national framings.28

In the following section, I trace Bahiga Hafez as she circulates across several online networks. In doing so, I show how a method of gathering despite scattering disrupts the neoliberal drive to privatize public resources related to cinema in Egypt and, more broadly, unravels binary thinking as it relates to archival practices.

Toward the end of her life in the early 1980s, Bahiga Hafez lived alone and destitute in her apartment in Cairo, apparently without electricity or a connected phone line. Over the course of her career, Hafez, who was a pianist, silent film starlet, and film director from an aristocratic background in Alexandria, had spent several small fortunes making films in the 1930s and 1940s. At one point, the impoverished Hafez beseeched Egypt’s Ministry of Culture for support—presumably in hopes that the Egyptian government would respond out of recognition of the national importance of her work—and received no answer.29 Despite her financial troubles, Hafez never considered selling the library of rare items that she had curated over the course of her life but instead planned to entrust it to the Ministry of Culture with the hope that its books, records, photos, musical scores, and paintings would eventually become part of a public library accessible to the Egyptian people (al-sha‘b).30 Yet in December 1983, on suspicions that Hafez had died after her neighbors had not seen her for a few days, robbers broke into Hafez’s apartment and looted her archive.31 The library’s contents now scattered, Hafez’s hope for her library to be in the possession of the people was, in a strange way, fulfilled; even if official institutions had not attached value to her items, al-sha‘b did. Almost two decades later, as part of making the film Women Who Loved Cinema, director Marianne Khoury gathered such material, which she describes having found scattered “on the street.” As a result, Hafez’s family attempted to sue Khoury for copyright infringement upon seeing the film and the materials she had gathered.32

The story of Hafez’s looted archive, Hafez’s solicitations to the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, and the attempts of Hafez’s family to sue Khoury for the materials she had gathered are several episodes in a larger history of struggle over the ownership of Bahiga Hafez’s cinematic body. A practice of gathering engages, rather than flattens, these struggles. In this section, I trace the unruly Hafez as she circulates across a digital nebula that includes YouTube, AlexCinema, and the digital library of the American University in Cairo. By embracing the centrifugal force created by her scattering, gathering exposes the curatorial logics, power structures, and frameworks that these online sources enfold. As Hafez’s scattering body defies efforts to claim her, gathering reveals the binary oppositions that typify much of modern archival theories and practices in the Anglophone archival world.33

As we follow Hafez’s scattered body on socio-technical spaces such as YouTube, we can understand how gathering reveals and disrupts the logics of national archives and global corporations, and any distinct delineation between the two. Take, for example, an interview with Hafez conducted by TV show host Jilan Hamza on her talk show fīl-marāa (“In the Mirror”) in 1965 (fig. 1).34 The interview is on Maspero Zaman, the YouTube channel of the headquarters of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union that, according to its “About” section, is dedicated to exhibiting Egyptian television heritage. The interview with Hafez, in this sense, is notable in its availability; Maspero is a largely inaccessible state institution, and its television broadcasts are widely known to present propaganda of the state.35 The text is also important in what we learn about Hafez from Hafez herself, especially within an Egyptian film historiography largely dominated by the narratives of male directors and critics.36 At one point, Hafez admits feelings of hopelessness when she thinks about her career in cinema, an admission that pokes holes in state-sanctioned celebratory narratives of Egyptian cinema and its heritage.

Figure 1.

Bahiga Hafez on Jilan Hamza’s TV show in 1966. This video is on the YouTube channel of the largely unapproachable Egyptian state television and radio headquarters, Maspero.

Figure 1.

Bahiga Hafez on Jilan Hamza’s TV show in 1966. This video is on the YouTube channel of the largely unapproachable Egyptian state television and radio headquarters, Maspero.

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This interview from 1965 takes on different meanings in relation to other manifestations of Hafez’s scattered body in its orbit on YouTube. The timing of the interview coincided with Hafez’s appearance in Salah Abu Seif’s 1966 film Cairo30 after a decades-long absence from cinema (fig. 2). A recording of a satellite TV broadcast of Cairo30 also circulates on YouTube. In Cairo30, Hafez performs briefly as a corrupt Egyptian aristocrat whose particular accent when speaking Arabic is meant to associate her with a member of Egypt’s “foreign” elite—even though she was likely born in Egypt but grew up speaking French, Italian, and/or another language commonly spoken in Egypt at the time. The film’s narrative is in line with the propaganda of the contemporaneous Gamal Abdel Nasser regime in the way that it criticizes certain communities in Egypt that, according to mainstream nationalisms, were deemed to be foreign. Like the character she plays in Cairo30, Hafez’s background and French accent in Arabic also marked her as foreign during her lifetime, despite the fact that Hafez described herself as a “descendent of the pharaohs” who only expressed herself in French because she was “the messenger of the Egyptian cause on all continents.”37 Contestations over meanings of the national as it relates to her body are encapsulated by realities such as Hafez’s firing from the first Egyptian sound film for not sounding Egyptian enough, an incident about which Cairo30 seeks to remind audiences in the way it articulates Hafez and ideas of foreignness in its narrative. Indeed, when later reflecting on her interview with Hafez, Jilan Hamza claimed that she had to stop filming on several occasions in order to ask Hafez to repeat herself so Egyptian audiences could understand her pronunciation of Arabic, an assertion that conflicts with the clarity of Hafez’s Arabic to the contemporaneous listener.38 As we listen to and compare Hafez’s voice across these two texts, it becomes clear that she exaggerates her mispronunciation of Arabic in the 1966 film. The juxtaposition of these texts, as enabled by gathering, complicates attempts to include or exclude Hafez from an Egyptian sonic imaginary.

Figure 2.

Bahiga Hafez as a corrupt aristocrat who struggles with speaking Arabic in the film Cairo 30. A logo in the top right corner indicates that this YouTube video was initially a broadcast from Rotana Classics.

Figure 2.

Bahiga Hafez as a corrupt aristocrat who struggles with speaking Arabic in the film Cairo 30. A logo in the top right corner indicates that this YouTube video was initially a broadcast from Rotana Classics.

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The energy of Hafez’s scattering body on YouTube disrupts binary thinking related to the public and private dichotomy of ownership of films and their archives in material and digital spaces. A Rotana Zaman (“Rotana Classics”) watermark that appears in the top right corner of Cairo30 indicates that the film was possibly one of the approximately 800 Egyptian films that Egyptian actress and producer Isaad Younis controversially sold to Saudi Prince and businessman Al Waleed bin Talal and his Rotana Media Group in 2004 (fig. 2). Younis had acquired the films from the public sector, private collectors, and bankrupt production companies in Egypt. The transaction, known popularly as the “sale of Egyptian film heritage,” ignited outrage among many filmmakers, cinephiles, and collectors who disparaged Younis. Several YouTube channels devoted to Egyptian cinema, including one that hosts the film Cairo30 EgyCinematic, seem to invoke the current realities of film preservation and archiving in Egypt such as the infamous sale in their “About” sections when explaining their understandings of curating, collecting, and archiving cinema: “Egyptian cinematic heritage isn’t for sale, it’s for future generations to own.”39 EgyCinematic’s approach to curation stands in contrast to what appears to have been the commercial imperatives that drove Isaad Younis to sell her enormous collection of Egyptian films to Rotana Media Group. Instead, the curators of this YouTube channel (and others like it) are motivated by cinephilia and collective memory.40 Yet they also dissonate with the capitalist logics of YouTube itself, the platform that serves as the exhibition space for many of these collectors, and which profits off these users’ free labor and the videos they upload. This paradox is partly encapsulated by the 2020 celebration by Google (YouTube’s owner) of Hafez’s place in Egyptian cinema history (fig. 3) through their Doodle and corresponding message: Shukran, Bahiga Hafez, your efforts set the scene for generations of filmmakers to come! The multiple layers of provenance enfolded in both the interview with Hafez from Maspero Zaman, this version of Cairo30, and the Google Doodle point to the ways in which a method of gathering leaves space for conflicting narratives of Bahiga Hafez and dismantles the logics that undergird them.

Figure 3.

Bahiga Hafez as Google’s Doodle in 2020.

Figure 3.

Bahiga Hafez as Google’s Doodle in 2020.

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Gathering can help us engage critically with cosmopolitan frameworks for thinking of cinema in Egypt and the elitist and colonial interests that sometimes inform them as we follow Hafez’s scattering body on Alex Cinema, a site dedicated to the history of cinema in Alexandria.41 Alexandria was home to the first film theaters and studios in Egypt, and the backgrounds of the city’s cine-workers index its diverse and cosmopolitan population at the time. In the 1930s, film production in Alexandria would become overshadowed by Cairo with the opening of powerhouse Studio Misr. With the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser and the onset of state-sponsored Arab socialism in the 1950s, a more homogenous form of Egyptian nationalism came to replace ideas of Egyptianness such as the “flexible and inclusive notion of national belonging” that many Alexandrians such as Bahiga Hafez represented.42 The continued investment in a cosmopolitan narrative of Alexandria and Egyptian cinema is demonstrated by the fact that the site is at least partly funded by the European Union and includes so-called Greek films made in Egypt shared by the embassy of Greece.

Though Alex Cinema frames Bahiga Hafez within this cosmopolitan narrative, other characteristics of the site disrupt any exclusive claims over her and her cinematic body. Among the biographies of actors, directors, and others involved in filmmaking from Alexandria, Alex Cinema features an entry on Bahiga Hafez and an article by Hafez published in the Egyptian periodical El Helal translated into English (in fact, the entire site is in English, a dynamic that I will discuss later in this section). As of this writing, when you navigate to Hafez’s page on Alex Cinema, the site automatically downloads onto your computer short clips of two of Hafez’s films, Layla al-Badawīyya (“Layla, The Bedouin”) and al-Ḍaḥāyyā (“The Victims”). Whether it’s on purpose or not, the site forces the two clips to become part of your personal collection and consequently “gives [you] the freedom to use [them] as [you] see fit.”43 Similar to what Kuhu Tanvir observes of the diffusion of control in what she calls pirate archives of Indian cinema, Alex Cinema invites users to share in the curatorial process.44 Alex Cinema’s approach to curation, in contrast to one that seeks sole ownership over Hafez’s work and narrative, is one of aggressive open access and participation.

A method of gathering highlights the colonial dynamics maintained by English-language universities with connections to the United States in places like Egypt as it relates to their resources and accessibility. For example, Hafez is scattered across the library collection of the American University in Cairo, in Egyptian celebrity and culture magazines like al-Kawākib and al-Jāmi‘aa (“The University”) from the 1930s and 1940s, several of which were donated to the university from private collectors affiliated with AUC.45 Hafez appears on the cover of several issues of these magazines, and articles about the star include descriptions of her films, biographical information, gossip, and glamorous pictures (fig. 4). In a recurring section of the magazine al-Jāmi‘aa, “What We Know About,” we learn about Hafez’s first marriage to an Iranian businessman, her fluency in several European languages, and her musical talents.46 Hafez’s face graces the cover of a special issue of al-Kawākib from November 15, 1933, and a corresponding article describes Hafez’s upcoming sound film al-Ittihām and includes an image of the set.47

Figure 4.

Article about Bahiga Hafez in the Egyptian culture magazine al-Jāmi‘aa, a digital version of which is on the American University of Cairo’s Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library.

Figure 4.

Article about Bahiga Hafez in the Egyptian culture magazine al-Jāmi‘aa, a digital version of which is on the American University of Cairo’s Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library.

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These texts, available to anyone with internet access, are critical resources for scholars of early female cine-workers like Bahiga Hafez, especially in the absence of full-length versions of her films and other film related material.48 Although these magazines are in Arabic, AUC’s platform (like the university as a whole) is conducted in English. The structural favoring of English at elite, expensive, and foreign private universities such as AUC creates a dynamic in which scholars who do not know English (often from less socially mobile backgrounds) are unable to access top-tier journals, conferences, and other academic spaces. In its privileging of English, the online library platform perpetuates these power asymmetries that have historically excluded scholars and researchers working in contexts of the Global South. The primacy of English in scholarship forecloses critical contributions to feminist and decolonial film historiography and curation methods.49

In contrast to official Egyptian state archives, which can largely be characterized by their inaccessibility, disarray, and investment in sanctioned national narratives and strict definitions of heritage, the nebula of online collections that pertain to Hafez are open-ended, multivocal, and dynamic.50 These diverse sources, connected across an online network, all have varying curatorial logics and imperatives and power structures. Hafez’s scattering body jams the sometimes overbearing, universalizing, and alienating effects of curational logics, commercial incentives, and political prerogatives of state archives, private institutions, and Western funding in cultural spaces in places like Egypt.

Gathering forefronts Hafez’s desires and struggles to be recognized and accepted within Egyptian film history, despite the forces that tried to exclude her and despite those that would later attempt to profit off her work. Next, I turn to Ruhangiz Sāminezhād to show how gathering disrupts the centralizing efforts of national cinema frameworks in Iran as part of thinking through the fact that she may not have wanted to appear in film histories at all.

After her brief stint in cinema in the 1930s, Ruhangiz Sāminezhād did not want to be found. In the 1960s, she lived alone in a two-story house with a window facing the street in a modest neighborhood of Tehran. Yet as the female star of the first Persian sound film Dokhtar-e Lor (“The Lor Girl,” 1933), her memories were valuable sources of information for Iranian cinema scholars and documentarians such as Mohammad Tahāminezhād. In the 1960s, Tahāminezhād was conducting research in preparation for his documentary Sinamā-ye irān az mashruteh tā sepantā (“Iranian Cinema from the Constitution to Sepanta,” 1970). While trying to track down major figures in early Iranian cinema, he managed to find a relative of Sāminezhād’s who offered to take Tahāminezhād to visit the ex-actress. When later reflecting on the visit to Sāminezhād’s home and the interview he recorded, Tahāminezhād explains that he didn’t want to be nosy or focus on the contradictions in her narrative. Instead, he wanted to hear Sāminezhād’s story from her perspective.

In its first life, Tahāminezhād’s footage of Sāminezhād would become part of his 1970 documentary. At the beginning of what Tahāminezhād filmed, we watch the aging ex-actress as she moves through her empty apartment. In one shot, she examines paraphernalia from The Lor Girl, including a painted film poster that prominently features a depiction of Sāminezhād as Golnar, the film’s female protagonist. The camera positions Sāminezhād and the poster such that we can see their resemblance, though the serious look on Sāminezhād’s face stands in contrast with Golnar’s half-smile and raised eyebrow (fig. 5). When we next see Sāminezhād, she is sitting in a chair, where she strikes a match, lights a cigarette, and then begins her tale. As she speaks, she avoids eye contact with the camera, and when she is finished, she cries. Sāminezhād’s discomfort in the interview and toward her acting career in general pose ethical questions about the attempts of scholars and filmmakers to extract her memories. Yet this interview has served as valuable information for scholars of Iranian cinema, especially given the relatively few extant sources on the first Persian talkies.51

Figure 5.

Ruhangiz Sāminezhād looks at herself as the character of Golnar on a film poster for the film The Lor Girl in Mohammed Tahāminezhād’s 1970 documentary on the history of Iranian cinema.

Figure 5.

Ruhangiz Sāminezhād looks at herself as the character of Golnar on a film poster for the film The Lor Girl in Mohammed Tahāminezhād’s 1970 documentary on the history of Iranian cinema.

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Despite Sāminezhād’s wish to live in obscurity, she not only appeared in Tahāminezhād’s documentary but was also the subject of a 2000 short film by filmmaker Majid Fedāʾi. Titled Beh yād-e avalin bāzigār-e zan sinemā-ye irān: Ruhangiz Sāminezhād (“In Memory of the First Iranian Film Actress: Ruhangiz Sāminezhād”), the film incorporates the interview and other clips of Sāminezhād from Tahāminezhād’s documentary as well as original dramatic portrayals of Sāminezhād returning to Iran after her time in India. Fedāʾi’s film also includes elements of self-reflexivity in the way it portrays Fedāʾi himself (played by another actor) as he tries to track down the actress decades after the filming of Tahāminezhād’s interview. When we first see the character Fedāʾi, he has knocked on what we soon learn is Sāminezhād’s door and asks to see her. Her caretaker informs him that Sāminezhād has had a stroke, yet Fedāʾi insists he had made a plan with Sāminezhād, and that he wants to film her. “I know,” the caretaker replies, “you’ve been coming and going all year, why didn’t you this earlier?” But Fedāʾi persists, and the caretaker lets him inside. We then watch as Fedāʾi descends several staircases into a room where he takes out his camera and begins to take photos. At this point, the film shows the pictures that Fedāʾi is capturing with his camera: black-and-white stills of a bedridden Sāminezhād. With each click of the camera, we are given an increasingly closer and intrusive view of Sāminezhād’s face (fig. 6). Even though she had wished to leave the world of cinema, Sāminezhād remains a subject of persistent filmmakers until her death.

Figure 6.

Photograph of a bedridden Sāminezhād in Majid Fedāʾi’s short film about the actress.

Figure 6.

Photograph of a bedridden Sāminezhād in Majid Fedāʾi’s short film about the actress.

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Attempts such as Fedāʾi’s to track down and seemingly exploit scattered sources of Iranian cinema such as Sāminezhād raise ethical and methodological questions of film historiography, such as those that relate to writing the lost female cine-workers back into film history. Fedāʾi’s dogged efforts to film the scattered Sāminezhād, like that of Tahāminezhād in his documentary, sit uncomfortably with the fact that Sāminezhād regretted her time in cinema and, perhaps, wished not to appear in film histories at all. This dynamic brings our attention to issues such as what scholars like Koyna Tomar have described as the extractive tendencies of historians when it comes to accessing archives.52 In one of the final scenes of Fedāʾi’s film, after we are informed of Sāminezhād’s death through a close-up shot of her grave marker, we watch as Sāminezhād’s few belongings are unceremoniously piled into the back of a pickup truck. The unknown driver hands over some money to another unknown man for her things, and he drives away. Now that Sāminezhād has apparently been prized of her worth to the filmmaker and Iranian cinema as a whole, what remains of her life is transported to the junkyard.

Yet scattered across various audio-visual formats such as YouTube and the Iranian video-sharing platform Āpārāt as the heroine Golnar from The Lor Girl, Sāminezhād remains available for theorization, consumption, and curation by scholars, viewers, and filmmakers. In addition to their presence in the full-length film, Sāminezhād’s voice and body as Golnar have been evoked in films celebrating Iranian cinema and its history, such as Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Nāser al-din shāh aktor-e sinamā (“Once Upon a Time Cinema,” 2000) and Massoud Bakhshi’s Tehrān anār nadārad (“Tehran Has No More Pomegranates,” 2007). In Makhmalbaf’s imaginative tale of Iranian cinema’s history, a fictional monarch falls in love with Golnar and obsessively pursues her. In Bakhshi’s experimental documentary about Tehran, Sāminezhād’s voice as Golnar peppers parts of the soundtrack. As the film shows various images of Tehran, we hear Sāminezhād’s voice shriek the male protagonist’s name, “Ja‘far.” In employing Sāminezhād’s voice in this way, these filmmakers render Sāminezhād’s labor and experiences as representative and decorative of Iranian cinema histories. Moreover, her voice as Golnar is stripped of the bravery that it often signals in the film text. As we find her across these scattered sources, we learn how the reluctant and regretful actress becomes metonymical of Iranian cinema.53

Gathering can help us account for the corporeal histories of female cine-workers in ways that resonate beyond questions of national history (both their official and unofficial narratives). With regard to her work in cinema, Sāminezhād’s life can be characterized by scattering. Her role in The Lor Girl is integrally connected to the fact that she was a member of the Iranian diaspora in India when the first Persian sound films were made in Bombay in collaboration between Iranian expatriate Abdolhossein Sepanta and the Parsi owner of the Imperial Film Company, Ardeshir Irani. The choice of Sāminezhād for the role of the heroine, Golnar, was almost random. Sāminezhād explains in her interview with Tahāminezhād that, while she did not have acting experience when Sepanta cast her as Golnar in the film, she spoke Persian and her husband worked as a driver for the Imperial Film Company. After starring in The Lor Girl and appearing in Sepanta’s subsequent film Shirin va Farhād (Shirin and Farhad, 1934), Sāminezhād returned to Iran. Sāminezhād’s scattering and cross-border travels are significant in what they tell us about Iranian cinema and its intimate relationship with cinema in India and the way in which a national cinema in Iran partly grew out of its connections with Indian cinema.54 Gathering, in this sense, disrupts the national frameworks that attempt to circumscribe and gain legitimacy from her.

In the face of film historiographical and curatorial practices that have tried to claim Sāminezhād for what she represents and the information she offers to a history of Iranian cinema, gathering forefronts her unruly body. As Sāminezhād describes in the interview with Tahāminezhād, she experienced harassment at the hands of some members of the Iranian community living in Bombay as a result of appearing in a film, so she and the other film actors had to cover their heads to avoid being recognized when leaving the studio. In Iran, too, she explains, “my mother, sister, and family members were all suffering at the hands of the people who made fun of them because their relative, I, had been a movie actress. My uncles, my father, and my mother pressured me not to act in the movies.” Though many Iranians were thrilled to meet her upon her return to Iran, others continued to give her trouble: “Even today my nieces blame me for their life stresses…that’s why I gave up acting.”55 Due to these experiences, Sāminezhād withdrew from public view for years. Rather than merely point out the scattering energies of the stigma-fame continuum, gathering asks us to forefront them in our analysis and think of them as inseparable from the seemingly immaterial star on screen.

Through a method of gathering these scattered sources, we learn how the reluctant actress becomes metonymic of Iranian cinema. As Blake Atwood argues about The Lor Girl as a whole, the fact that the film is extant and is available on YouTube has resulted in a flurry of recent scholarship in which Sāminezhād has played a key role. As a rare and valuable object, the film and its female star remain too important for scholars operating according to certain curatorial and historiographical logics to not write about her. In addition to ethical questions, the fact of the film’s existence raises other issues, including the fact that histories have potentially singled out Sāminezhād in Iranian cinema histories to the exclusion of other female cine-workers involved with the Persian talkies produced in India, such as the star of the subsequent films Fakhri Fay Vaziri, who traveled to India from Iran to act in films. Like Sāminezhād, her negative experiences as an actress led her to end her career in the spotlight.56 Even though her family was progressive, Vaziri recalls their opposition to her desire to travel to India and star in Persian-language films. When she later returned to Iran from India, Vaziri recalls the way in which people treated her differently. “She has acted in films,” Vaziri remembers hearing her relatives whispering to each other.57 Unlike The Lor Girl, none of the films in which Vaziri starred are known to be extant. In fact, in an interview that scholar Farzaneh Milani conducted with Vaziri in 1999, Vaziri admits that she once had copies of the films but threw them all out.58 Rather than simply mourn the loss of such valuable resources, gathering embraces Vaziri’s decision for what it can teach us about ethical approaches to film history and curation.

When we curate the interview and Vaziri’s cinematic trajectory in relation to other texts and cine-workers according to the logics of gathering, we can understand her story as connected to an unknown number of other workers and texts and, as Neepa Majumdar reminds us, fragmentary.59 A method of gathering embraces scattering for what it can teach us about an ethical practice of film historiography and curation, asking that we pause to consider and foreground the conditions of the production of the materials we gather and their provenance.

The experiences of female cine-workers who sometimes had fraught relationships with cinema complicate moves in feminist film historiography to write female cine-workers back into film history.60 By framing stigma as energetic unruliness, gathering disrupts colonial and national expectations of the female cine-worker’s body and forefronts disorderly questions. In some cases, female cine-workers embraced the articulation of their bodies and filmmaking in anticolonial contexts. How might we approach the female cine-worker who actively positioned her body of work as representative of national aspirations?

To return to the Egyptian filmmaker Aziza Amir mentioned in the introduction, the researcher Nadia in Women Who Loved Cinema tries to find information about Amir in Amir’s hometown of Damietta only to discover that stigma has precluded any public recognition of her work. Of Marianne Khoury and other scholars’ framing of Amir in the film, Kay Dickinson remarks how Amir has recently “been adopted as an expressly feminist heroine by Arab researchers.”61 Dickinson discusses how Amir cleverly and consciously drew on discourse that linked nationalist cultural production with motherhood when discussing her filmmaking, a strategy encapsulated by Amir once having expressed in a speech, “I have one daughter and that is Egyptian cinema.”62 In positioning filmmaking as part of this nationalist so-called female duty of reproduction, Amir explicitly linked her filmmaking with her body.63

What might gathering also focus on in approaching Aziza Amir? In gathering the scattered texts in film magazines throughout which her body circulates, one can learn other dimensions of this relationship between her filmmaking and her body. We learn that, over the course of her career, Amir faced an ongoing struggle to secure funding for her filmmaking endeavors and suffered immense financial losses and bankruptcy because of the significant sums of money that she put into her filmmaking projects, both unsuccessful ones and those that were incredibly popular. With neither inherited wealth nor a significant income, Amir largely depended on her husbands to fund her film projects. Partly because of these financial struggles, Amir experienced serious bouts of depression, destabilizing periods sometimes lasting months at a time.64 Through gathering, we learn how, beyond merely representative of anticolonial and nationalist forces, Amir’s unruly body managed the precarity of a burgeoning film industry and the new kinds of careers it made available to women.

By engaging with stigma—unruliness, energetically scattering—as inextricable to these female stars’ metonymic importance to their respective national cinemas, gathering despite scattering reveals its decolonial and feminist possibilities. The psychic and corporeal experiences of cine-workers such as Aziza Amir break the narrative structures of national and colonial representational regimes and helps us to develop a historiographical and curatorial practice that gathers the scattered cine-worker in a way that comes closer, perhaps, to how she wished for history to treat her.

I wish to sincerely thank Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak, Blake Atwood, and Pelle Valentin Olsen, and the anonymous reviewer, for their invaluable feedback on drafts of this essay.


Marianne Khoury, Women Who Loved Cinema (Seattle: Arab Film Distribution, 2002), DVD.


While this is true of state archival practices, this is not the case of local and independent archiving efforts, manifest in organizations such as Cimatheque in Cairo and Wekalet Behna in Alexandria.


Lucie Ryzova, “Mourning the Archive: Middle Eastern Photographic Heritage between Neoliberalism and Digital Reproduction,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 56, no. 4 (2014): 1027–61,; Yasmin Desouki, “The Vanishing Archive,” Feminist Media Histories 8, no. 2 (2022): 70–87,; Chihab El Khachab, “How to Study a State in Ruins?” Égypte/Monde arabe (forthcoming).


For a similar argument as it relates to media labor and the state in the Middle East, see Blake Atwood, “Precarity and Possibility,” Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 16, no. 2 (2023): 215–28,


Ruhangiz Sāminezhād (1916–1997) was the star of the first Persian talkie, The Lor Girl, versions of which exist on YouTube and in the National Film Archive of Iran (NFAI).


Viviane Saglier, “Decolonization, Disenchantment, and Arab Feminist Genealogies of Worldmaking,” Feminist Media Histories 8, no. 1 (2022): 91,


Kaveh Askari and Samhita Sunya, “Introduction: South by South/West Asia: Transregional Histories of Middle East–South Asia Cinemas,” Film History: An International Journal 32, no. 3 (2020): 4.


Saglier, “Decolonization, Disenchantment.” For similar dynamics of scattered archives in Iraq, see Pelle Valentin Olsen, “Iraqi Cinema beyond the Screen and the Archives of Leisure,” Regards—Revue des Arts du Spectacle 26 (Fall 2021): 129–41.


Bahiga Hafez (1908–1983) was a composer, film actress, studio owner, director, screenwriter, editor, and producer from Alexandria, Egypt, who worked on and/or appeared in eight films between 1930 and 1966. It is unclear how many of her films are extant, though in 1995 her 1935 silent film The Victims was found and screened at the Cairo International Film Festival.


Saglier, “Decolonization, Disenchantment.”


Laura U. Marks, Hanan Al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image, Leonardo (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015), 13.


Bill Nichols, “Discovering Form, Inferring Meaning: New Cinemas and the Film Festival Circuit,” Film Quarterly 47, no. 3 (1994): 17.


Lila Abu-Lughod, “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others,” American Anthropologist 104, no. 3 (2002): 783–90.


Ella Shohat, Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 17.


Shohat, Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices, 32.


Ifdal Elsaket, “Sound and Desire: Race, Gender, and Insult in Egypt’s First Talkie,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 51, no. 2 (2019): 203–32; Claire Cooley, “The ‘Problem of Respectable Ladies Joining Films’: Industrial Traffic, Female Stardom, and the First Talkies in Bombay and Tehran,” in Industrial Networks and Cinemas of India: Shooting Stars, Shifting Geographies, and Multiplying Media, ed. Monika Mehta and Madhuja Mukherjee (London: Taylor and Francis, 2020), 35–47.


Debashree Mukherjee, Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020), 7, 146; see also Neepa Majumdar, Wanted, Cultured Ladies Only!: Female Stardom and Cinema in India, 1930s–1950s (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009).


Debashree Mukherjee, “Somewhere between Human, Nonhuman, and Woman,” Feminist Media Histories 6, no. 3 (2020): 46.


Anupama Rao, “Stigma and Labor: Remembering Dalit Marxism,” Seminar 633 (May 2012), as cited in Mukherjee, Bombay Hustle, 260.


I thank the anonymous reviewer for this excellent suggestion.


Mukherjee, Bombay Hustle, 11.


Usha Iyer, Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Hindi Cinema (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020): 7, 6.


Usha Iyer, “Smuggling, Infiltrating, Usurping: Why Globalizing the Film and Media Studies Curriculum Is Essential to Decolonizing It,” Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 7, no. 1 (Winter 2022).


Allyson Nadia Field, “Editor’s Introduction: Sites of Speculative Encounter,” Feminist Media Histories 8, no. 2 (2022): 1.


For a discussion on ocularcentrism as it pertains to scholarship on the Middle East specifically, see Ziad Fahmy, “Coming to Our Senses: Historicizing Sound and Noise in the Middle East,” History Compass 11, no. 4 (2013): 305–15,


Salomé Voegelin also draws on sound in theorizing a method of “uncuration,” see her Uncurating Sound (New York: Bloomsbury, 2023).


Ravi Vasudevan, “In the Centrifuge of History,” Cinema Journal 50, no. 1 (2010): 139.


Kamran Rastegar, Literary Modernity between the Middle East and Europe: Textual Transactions in 19th Century Arabic, English, and Persian Literatures (New York: Routledge, 2007); Levi Thompson, Reorienting Modernism in Arabic and Persian Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022); Claire Cooley, “Soundscape of a National Cinema Industry: Filmfarsi and Its Sonic Connections with Egyptian and Indian Cinemas, 1940s–1960s,” Film History 32, no. 3 (2020): 43–74,


“Bahiga Hafez (1908–1983),” Alex Cinema, n.d.,


داهش and Dāhish, al-Raḥalāt al-Dāhishīyah ḥawla al-kurah al-arḍīyah, Turāth Dāhish; al-kitāb 60, etc. (Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al-Nasr al-Muḥalliq, 1982), 280.


Ahmad ’Abdallāh, ’Alām al-Nujūm Wa Dhikrayāt Mīkī Māwsis (al-Qāhira, Misr) (Cairo, Egypt: Dār Akhbār al-Yawm, 1992), 77–81; “Bahiga Hafez (1908–1983),” Alex Cinema, n.d.,


Marianne Khoury, Whatsapp message to Claire Cooley, June 16, 2023.


Sue McKemmish and Michael Piggot, “Toward the Archival Multiverse: Challenging the Binary Opposition of the Personal and the Corporate Archive in Modern Archival Theory and Practice,” Archivaria 76 (Fall 2013): 111–44.


Maspero Zaman, “Fīl marāya: Jīlān hamza tahāwir al-fanāna al-rai’da bahīja hafiz,” August 25, 2016, YouTube video, 39:00,


Amr Khalifa, “The Counterrevolution Will Be Televised: Propaganda and Egyptian Television since the Revolution,” Arab Media and Society, no. 20 (Winter 2015),


Kay Dickinson, “I Have One Daughter and That Is Egyptian Cinema,” Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies 22 (2007): 137–77, at 138.


Margot Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 102–3.


Claire Cooley, “Bahiga Hafez on YouTube and Feminist Archives of Egyptian Cinema,” Regards—Revue des Arts du Spectacle, no. 26 (2021): 23.


Cooley, “Bahiga Hafez,” 29.


Kuhu Tanvir, “Pirate Histories: Rethinking the Indian Film Archive,” BioScope South Asian Screen Studies 4, no. 2 (2013): 124,; for similar dynamics on collective memory, cinephilia, YouTube, and film collecting, see Laura Fish, “Arisen from the Grave: Collecting and Distributing Mid-Century Iranian Popular Cinema” (PhD diss., University of Texas at Austin, 2019).


Deborah Starr, Togo Mizrahi and the Making of Egyptian Cinema (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2020), 23.


Starr, Togo Mizrahi, 23.


Tanvir, “Pirate Histories,” 125.


Tanvir, “Pirate Histories,” 125.


“al-Jāmi’ah Magazine Collection: About this collection,” The American University in Cairo: Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library. Accessed October 6 2023,


“Mā ’Arifuhu…Wa Yajhaluhu al-Ghayr ’Anha: Al-Sayyida Bahīja Hāfiz,” Al-Jāmi’aa, September 22, 1932,


“Aflāmnā Al-Misriyya Fī Mawsum al-Qādim,” Al-Kawākib, November 15, 1933.


For a discussion of similar questions related to early cinema and female cine-workers in India, see Debashree Mukherjee, “Notes on a Scandal: Writing Women’s Film History Against an Absent Archive,” BioScope South Asian Screen Studies 4, no. 1 (2013): 9–30.


Ana Cristina Suzina, “English as Lingua Franca; Or, the Sterilisation of Scientific Work,” Media, Culture & Society 43, no. 1 (2021): 171–79,; Emily Keightley et al., “Editorial: Encounters with Western Media Theory,” Media, Culture & Society 45, no. 2 (March 1, 2023): 406–12,


Yasmin Desouki, “A Map of Love and Loss: Egyptian Film Archives & Preservation Efforts,” Rawi: Egypt’s Heritage Review 9 (2018),


See Hamid Naficy, A Social History of Iranian Cinema: Volume 1, The Artisanal Era, 1897–1941 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011); Blake Atwood, Reform Cinema in Iran: Film and Political Change in the Islamic Republic (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016); Farzaneh Milani, Words Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2011).


Koyna Tomar (@koyna93), “How can historians even pretend they don’t share the same extractive impulse as disciplines and institutions they critique,” Twitter, March 14, 2023, 11:54 a.m.


For a discussion on the metonymic role of female stars in the overseas travels of cinema, see Samhita Sunya’s 2022 Sirens of Modernity: World Cinema via Bombay (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).


Cooley, “Soundscape of a National Cinema Industry.”


Naficy, Social History, 274.


Blake Atwood, “An Archaeology of Access,” in Counter-Memories in Iranian Cinema, ed. Matthias Wittmann and Ute Holl (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2021).


Farzaneh Milani, “Through Her Eyes: An Interview with Fakhri Fay Vaziri,” Film History 32, no. 3 (2020): 179,


Milani, “Through Her Eyes,” 181.


Neepa Majumdar, “What Is ‘Early’ Cinema?,” Framework 54, no. 2 (2013): 138,


Jane Gaines, Pink-Slipped: What Happened to Women in the Silent Film Industries?, Women and Film History International (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2018); Mukherjee, “Notes on a Scandal,


Dickinson, “I Have One Daughter,” 138.


Speech made by Aziza Amir, quoted in Dickinson, “I Have One Daughter,” 152.


Speech made by Aziza Amir, quoted in Dickinson, “I Have One Daughter,” 152.


Mona Ghandour, Saltānāt Al-Shāsha: Rā’idāt al-Sīnimā al-Misrīya (Queens of the Screen: Pioneers of Egyptian Cinema) (Beirut, Lebanon: Riad El-Rayyes Books, 2005), 55–121.