Southern Lights

Kino des globalen Südens

Describing the intention behind his feature fiction debut 200 METERS, Palestinian filmmaker Ameen Nayfeh says, “freedom of movement is a very basic human right.” Yet for his main protagonist, this very basic right is questioned on a daily basis.

Do we all have the freedom to move around? What about physical immobility? How does it affect our physical but also psychological state? Does everyone have a fair chance to choose where to move? What about those who are forced to move, to flee conflict zones, to escape political persecution or to protect their identity?

In a year during which our freedom of movement has been suddenly obstructed, most of the planet’s population has been locked at home and everyone’s living room became a home office, Southern Lights wants to address the vast theme of mobility in the cinemas of the Global South.

How does exile shape our identity (MIGUEL’S WAR)? How do borders affect our movement (200 METERS)? How does physical handicap hamper our daily activities (FIRE IN THE MOUNTAINS)? How is gentrification changing the reality of our cities (GHOSTS)? What is life without a permanent home (THE SHEPHERDESS AND THE SEVEN SONGS)? How do we depict fleeing (MIDNIGHT TRAVELER)? What images do we find for origin and identity (RADIOGRAPH OF A FAMILY)? And in which cinematic forms do we find answers to these questions?


Southern Lights is a film series initiated in 2020 by the 360° Team at the DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, within within the program of the same name of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. This second edition showcases 11 feature fiction, documentary and short films that have their Frankfurt premiere at the DFF cinema. Two more films are available Germany-wide online, on the streaming platform DFF Kino+, for the public to (re)discover. Alongside several Film Talks with filmmakers that will accompany the screenings, 5 Diversity Talks with key speakers from Frankfurt’s urban society will move beyond the films to speak about their topics and link them to our societies today. These talks are all moderated by colleagues from various departments at the DFF. This edition is also offering a seminar around the theme of mobility and a lecture about human rights in Colombia, both taking place at the Amt für multikulturelle Angelegenheiten (AmkA), organized in partnership with the Entwicklungspolitisches Netzwerk Hessen (EPN).

Whether you’re crisscrossing the Magdalena River with José, looking for his lost sons (VALLEY OF SOULS), on the road with Rabih as he’s trying to retrieve his identity throughout Lebanon (TRAMONTANE), discovering for the very first time what a city feels like with Rabab (SOUAD), or trying to find your way out in the middle of the vast sea (THE PIROGUE), Southern Lights is a invitation for you to travel with these characters on their incredible journeys and reflect on what it feels to be able to move around, freely.

The 360°-Team at the DFF

Aida Ben Achour| Outreach Manager
Rabih El-Khoury | Diversity Manager

Funded in the programme

360° - Fonds für Kulturen der neuen Stadtgesellschaft

Please take note of our current COVID-19 safety regulations before visiting our cinema.

Friday 05.11.2021



India 2021. R: Ajitpal Singh. D: Vinamrata Rai, Chandan Bisht, Harshita Tiwari, Mayank Singh Jaira. 84 Min. DCP. OmeU

Opening Film: Friday, November 5 · 18:00
Followed by: Diversity Talk with Rucha Ambekar (TransCompass)

Rerun: Saturday, November 6 · 22:30

A mother works hard to save money to build a road in a Himalayan village to take her son, who is a wheelchair user and cannot speak, for physiotherapy. But her husband, who believes that the shamanic Jagar ritual is the remedy, steals her savings. FIRE IN THE MOUNTAINS is Ajitpal Singh’s feature debut and has premiered in the World Cinema Competition of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.



Turkey/France/Qatar 2020. R: Azra Deniz Okyay D: Nalan Kuruçim, Dilayda Günes, Beril Kayar, Emrah Özdemir. 90 Min. DCP. OmU

In the presence of director Azra Deniz Okyay

In Istanbul, on the verge of a country-wide power surge, four characters come across in a neighbourhood undergoing the process of gentrifi cation for the “New Turkey”: a mother whose son is in prison, a young female dancer, a feminist artist, and a cunning middleman. Their stories intertwine during a drug deal, off ering a roaring tale of the contemporary generation. Winner of the Grand Prize at the 2020 International Critics’ Week of the Venice Film Festival.


The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs

India 2020. R: Pushpendra Singh. D: Navjot Randhawa, Sadakkit Bijran, Shahnawaz Bhat, Ranjit Khajuria. 96 Min. DCP. OmeU

Laila, a nomadic Bakarwal shepherdess from the politically fraught Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, moves with her new husband to a home in the forest. Her beauty and strength make her the obsession of the local police officer and the forest guard. Laila tries to figure out her identity and decides to break free. The film is an adaptation of the folktale Kenchuli by Rajasthani writer Vijaydan Detha. It premiered in the Encounters competition of the 70th Berlinale.

Saturday 06.11.2021



Egypt/Tunisia/Germany 2021. R: Ayten Amin D: Bassant Ahmedm, Basmala Elghaiesh, Hussein Ghanem. 96 Min. DCP. OmeU

Zagazig, a town on the Nile Delta in Egypt. 19-year-old Souad leads a double life. Conservative and veiled within her family, she is obsessed with her image on social media and engages in secret virtual relationships with men. A tragic event makes Rabab, her younger sister, embark on a real-life journey looking for answers. The film’s lead actresses have jointly won the Best Actress Award in an International Narrative Feature Film at the 2021 Tribeca Festival.



USA/Qatar/Canada/UK 2019. R: Hassan Fazili, Emelie Mahdavian. D: Nargis Fazili, Zahra Fazili, Fatima Hussaini, Hassan Fazili Dokumentarfilm. 86 Min. DCP. OmU

Followed by: Diversity Talk with Dr. Harpreet Cholia

When the Taliban puts a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head, he is forced to flee with his wife and two young daughters. Capturing their uncertain journey, Fazili shows both the danger and desperation of their multi-year odyssey and the tremendous love shared between them. Entirely shot on three mobile phones, the film won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and three further awards at the 2020 Berlinale.



Palestine/Jordan/Qatar/Italy/Sweden 2020. R: Ameen Nayfeh D: Ali Suliman, Lana Zreik, Samia Bakri, Tawfeeq Nayfeh. 96 Min. DCP. OmeU

In the presence of director Ameen Nayfeh

Mustafa and his wife Salwa live 200 meters apart in villages separated by the wall. One day he gets a call every parent dreads: his son has had an accident. Rushing to cross the Israeli checkpoint, Mustafa is denied on a technicality. But a father’s love won’t give up and he will do anything to reach his son. A 200 meter distance becomes a 200 kilometer odyssey, as Mustafa, left with no choice, attempts to smuggle himself to the other side of the wall.



India 2021. R: Ajitpal Singh. D: Vinamrata Rai, Chandan Bisht, Harshita Tiwari, Mayank Singh Jaira. 84 Min. DCP. OmeU

A mother works hard to save money to build a road in a Himalayan village to take her son, who is a wheelchair user and cannot speak, for physiotherapy. But her husband, who believes that the shamanic Jagar ritual is the remedy, steals her savings. FIRE IN THE MOUNTAINS is Ajitpal Singh’s feature debut and has premiered in the World Cinema Competition of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

Sunday 07.11.2021



Sudan/Qatar 2020. R: Suzannah Mirghani. D: Mihad Murtada, Rabeha Mohammed, Mohammed Magdi. 20 Min. DCP. OmeU

Followed by: Diversity Talk with Riem Elhaj Ahmed Mukhtar (Ubuntu Passion Art Ensemble)

In a cotton-farming village in Sudan, 15-year-old Nafisa has a crush on Babiker. But her parents have arranged her marriage to Nadir, a young Sudanese businessman living in Qatar. Nafisa’s grandmother Al-Sit, the powerful village matriarch, has her own plans for Nafisa’s future. But can Nafisa choose for herself? In her awardwinning short film, filmmaker Suzannah Mirghani gives a voice to a generation of Sudanese teenage girls like Nafisa, exploring the possibility for a young girl to decide her own destiny and choose whom to love.



Iran/Norway/Switzerland 2020. R: Firouzeh Khosrovani. Dokumentarfilm. 82 Min. DCP. OmeU

Followed by: Diversity Talk with „Deutsch-Iranische Beratungsstelle“ für Frauen und Mädchen e.V. (DIB)

„My mother married my father’s photograph in Tehran. He was studying radiology in Switzerland. My father came from a liberal and secular family. After I was born, we moved from Switzerland back to Tehran. Shortly after, the Revolution happened. My mother found a new space for herself: she became a religious activist, school principal and did military training. I was torn between my two parents. I am the result of Irans struggle between tradition and modernisation.“ (Firouzeh Khosrovani).


Miguel’s War

Lebanon/Germany/Spain 2021. R: Eliane Raheb D: Miguel Jleilaty, Ruben Cardoso, Maria Zabala Peña, Majdi Machmouchi. Dokumentarfilm. 128 Min. DCP. OmeU

In the presence of director Eliane Raheb

Raised by a conservative family, teenage Michel was incapable of asserting himself. Desperate to prove he can “act like a real man,” he fights alongside an armed faction in the Lebanese civil war before immigrating to Spain. There, he becomes Miguel and tries to liberate himself through debauchery. Three decades later, Miguel feels ready to face the ghosts of his past. Eliane Raheb combines animation, theatre and archive in her hybrid documentary, winning with it the 2021 Berlinale Teddy Award.

Monday 08.11.2021


Memory House

Brazil/France 2020. R: João Paulo Miranda Maria D: Antonio Pitanga, Ana Flavia Cavalcanti, Sam Louwyck. 93 Min. DCP. OmeU

Followed by: Diversity Talk with Lay Gleim (Abá e.V.)

Cristovam, a native Black man from Brazil’s rural North, moves to a Southern town, a strange sort of Austrian colony, to work in a milk factory. Confronted with xenophobic conservative people, he feels isolated and estranged from the white world. He discovers an abandoned house, filled with objects and memorabilia reminding him of his origins. He settles in, reconnecting with his roots. Slowly, Cristovam begins a metamorphosis.


Valley of Souls

Colombia/Belgium/Brazil/France 2019. R: Nicolas Rincón Gille. D: Arley de Jesús, Carvallido Lobo. 137 Min. DCP. OmeU

Accompanying lecture with July Cassiani Hernandez on Tuesday, November 9

Colombia, on the banks of Magdalena Medio, 2002. José returns home deep in the forest after a long fi shing night to discover that paramilitary forces killed his two sons, Dionisio and Rafael, and threw their bodies into the river. José begins a lonely journey to retrieve and provide a proper bur-ial for his boys, in order to prevent their tormented souls from being stuck in this world. Aboard his canoe, José discovers the magic of a country torn into pieces.