Fwd: Re: [Videolib] Some Women of Marrakech

Jonathan Miller (jmiller@frif.com)
Mon, 10 Jan 2005 13:55:36 -0500

Dear Susan, Darla, and anyone else interested:

There is an old history to this film which still comes up from time to
time, and some of what is written below is not accurate. So, I forwarded
this email to Prof. Elizabeth Fernea
http://www.frif.com/subjects/fernea.html of the University of Texas at the
time. Here is what she wrote to me "to set the record straight":

"SOME WOMEN OF MARRAKESH, a film in Granada Television's Disappearing World
series, came out in 1976 and won prizes and acclaim for its
producer-director, Melissa Llewelyn-Davies. It boosted the first all-woman
crew in the history of British TV. I served as ethnographic consultant.
Then Odyssey bought the footage in 1981 to recut it for PBS. (For that
version, I was co-producer with Melanie Wallace). But Ms. Llewelyn-Davies,
who had final say since she was the original producer-director of the
footage, did not like the PBS version, which aired in 1982. Thus she
refused to let it be released for any other TV or theatrical showings.

"Years later, the University of Texas obtained permission to distribute it
FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. The VHS may still be purchased from the
Department of Anthropology, U. of Texas, Austin, TX. 78712, attention: Pam
Becker. Cost is US $200 and all moneys go into student fellowships in
anthropology and film.

"SAINTS AND SPIRITS is a different film altogether, and its history is also
different. This 28-minute film was produced in 1978 with a small grant from
the NEH, and utilized (with Granada management permission) out-takes from
SOME WOMEN OF MARRAKESH, unused footage on the religious experiences of
Moroccan women. I raised the money and was associate producer. Melissa
Llewelyn-Davies retained the rights, as original director-producer of the
footage, to be credited as such on SAINTS AND SPIRITS. Since 1978, this
short film has been distributed by First Run/Icarus Films and has been
shown in London, Stockholm and at the National Gallery, Washington, DC., as
well as being a selection of the Margaret Mead Film Ethnographic Film
Festival in New York. Curiously, Granada Television also lists it as one of
its films!

"As for offending the Muslim community: the Moroccan Embassy did indeed
lodge a formal complaint, first with Granada and then to PBS, about the
bath scene, but that did not affect the film's airing. It is still one of
the most popular films available at the Musee de l'Homme and the Pompidou
Museum in Paris. Further, a review in one of Morocco's Arabic newspapers
cited "its veracity in reporting honestly the problems of Moroccan women"
and asked the rhetorical question, "Why can't Moroccan film makers produce
such work? Why do we wait for foreigners to do it?" The review was written
by Leila Abouzeid, a well-respected Moroccan novelist.

"So, a long and tangled history, but one that continues." -- Elizabeth Fernea

I hope this is helpfulm.


Jonathan Miller

>>X-Sender: sweber@lang2.langara.bc.ca
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>>Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 12:08:27 -0800
>>To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
>>From: Susan Weber <sweber@langara.bc.ca>
>>Subject: Re: [Videolib] Some Women of Marrakech
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>>This program was pulled from release. The entire series, Disappearing
>>World was
>>produced by Granada TV,over more than a decade.
>>However this one program, Some Women of Marrakech offended the Muslim
>>because there was a scene where the women were in a communal shower & were
>>not covered.
>>As a consequence, the 53 minute program was edited down to 25 minutes
>>and this was produced by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, The
>>of Texas at Austin. The title was changed to, Saints and Spirits. There
>>is no date
>>on this production, we looked.
>>I hope this provides you with some better info. to find the program.
>>At 10:13 AM 2004-03-31, you wrote:
>>> I have been asked where to purchase a video called Women of
>>> Marrakech. I think the title is actually Some Women of Marrakech, a
>>> film that was featured in the PBS series Odyssey in 1981. I have not
>>> been able to find it listed anywhere; does anyone know whether this
>>> film is still available?
>>> Thank you,
>>> Darla Moore
>>> Rollins College
>>-- --- -- --- -- --- --
>>Susan Weber
>>Media Librarian
>>Langara College
>>Advanced Education Media Acquisitions Centre (AEMAC)
>>Fast Forward Educational Media Showcase
>>April 28-29, 2004
>>100 West 49th Avenue
>>Vancouver, British Columbia Canada V5Y 2Z6
>>Tel. (604) 323-5533 Fax. (604) 323-5475
>>email: sweber@langara.bc.ca
>>Videolib mailing list
>Jonathan Miller, President
>First Run/Icarus Films, Inc.
>32 Court Street, 21st Floor
>Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA
>Tel. 1.718.488.8900
>Fax. 1.718.488.8642
>web: www.frif.com
>email: jmiller@frif.com

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