Doha: The mind forgets but the heart always remembers. Smicha, a short film by Qatari filmmaker Amal Al Muftah, proves the enduring power of love amid fading memory.
This week’s short film offering of Doha Film Institute (DFI) tells the story of the doting seven-year-old Lulwa who spends time every Friday with her elderly grandfather who is beginning to show signs of senility that he sometimes forgets his promises, and even calls Lulwa by someone else’s name.
Yet, Lulwa finds spending time with him important, even if she has to be extra patient and remind him of simple things he needs to remember. Smicha won the nod of the jury to be adjudged Best Narrative at the Ajyal Film Festival 2017 “for the heart-touching and different way it deals with love and care.”
“The film was inspired by an actual moment that I recorded on my phone of my grandfather when he was in the hospital and it kind of gave birth to these other moments that I had with him or moments that I wished I had with him,” Al Muftah said in a behind the scenes interview on the film.
Watching her grandfather go through a lot because of his health when she was still young was a very moving experience, she said. “For me the starting point of any story is something that moves me,” she said, stressing that making a film was cathartic for her. She highlighted the importance of being honest as a filmmaker in telling the story to inspire people.
“Being a director is very difficult. If you’re trying to pretend that you’re someone you’re not people can tell, and they are not going to buy it. They are not going to feel the film. They are not going to be inspired by it,” she said. She underscored the significance of women filmmakers in the society saying, “We as women have access to a part of society that not everyone has and it would be a shame if we don’t share it on screen.”
Al Muftah discovered a fascination with filmmaking as a form of storytelling when she was just in high school during which she directed and shot an award-winning documentary Al-Hamali and her first short film Al-Kora. While studying Communications at Northwestern University in Qatar, she made two award-winning films Smicha (2015) and Sh’hab (2018) amongst other films and documentaries. Her body of work is inspired by the rich history and culture of the region.
The film was uploaded on Thursday on DFI’s YouTube channel as part of its Short Film of the Week initiative.
Launched in April, the initiative brings the very best of DFI-supported films for movie buffs to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. It aims at encouraging people to stay home amid COVID-19 pandemic while lending support to Qatari films and Arab cinema.
The series kicked off with the short narrative “Al Johara” helmed by Qatari filmmaker Nora Al Subai. Other films which had been featured were Amer: An Arabian Legend by Jassim Al Rumaihi, Red by Kholood Al Ali, Elevate by Hamida Issa, In the Middle by Mariam Al Dhubhani, The Unlucky Hamster by Abdulaziz Mohammed Khashabi, Gubgub by Nouf Al Sulaiti, and Land of Pearls” by Mohammed Al Ibrahim.