Picture for event

40th anniversary screening

Leila and the Wolves

(Layla Wa Zi’ab)

Dir: Heiny Srour, 1984, UK/Lebanon, 90 mins, Cert: 18 (TBA)

Thu 6 June // 20:00

Tickets: £7

It took Heiny Srour six years to make Leila and the Wolves, a film that reveals a hidden past of women’s struggle in Palestine and Lebanon in an attempt to rewrite the history of the region from a feminist point of view. 

The film is structured in a series of sketches, each of which features the same actors revolving around the eponymous Leila (Nabila Zeitouni), a London-based Lebanese woman who, in pondering her future within the limits of the patriarchal imagination, begins to question the long-hidden roles that women have had in Lebanese history, including how they entwine with the Palestinian resistance movement. She time travels through the 1900s to the 1980s, wandering through real and imaginary landscapes of Lebanon and Palestine.

Re-enactments and archive footage (from sources ranging from the films of Palestinian director Mai Masri to the archives of UNRWA and the Imperial War Museum) intertwine to conjure images of active, activist and defiant women – a restitution of sorts, which reverberated around the world upon the film’s release. 

In an interview from 2020, the filmmaker says: “Nowadays, Leila and the Wolves is travelling the world again, more relevant than ever; my unconscious and the collective unconscious of the women of the Middle East spoke together throughout the extreme conditions of making this film.” 

Film restored by CNC – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée. Selected for Venice Classics 2021

With thanks to Cinenova