The Light in Her Eyes

    • Laura Nix, Julia Meltzer
    • United States, Syria
    • 2011
    • 87 min
    • World Premiere
    • Panorama
    In Damascus, the capital of Syria, the mosque is a place for men; women practice their faith at home. On TV, conservative clerics stress that women belong at home - reproducing and taking care of their families. Are these religious rules or simply a cultural tradition? Under the direction of Houda al-Habash, the inspiring and contradictory female principal of the Al-Zahra Koran School, women are trying to find the answer to that question. As a spiritual leader in this Islamic women's movement, Al-Habash advocates a thorough knowledge of the Koran, a good education, and women thinking and being responsible for themselves. She drives a car, supervises other mosques, and counsels women in domestic conflicts. By teaching her students to interpret the Koran, she gives them strength and self-respect. In small groups, women and girls debate their place in society. They include Al-Habash's daughter, who says, "You can't just tell us it's a religious rule. Let us interpret it!" We follow Houda Al-Habash and her students over the three-month summer course, as she guides her girls with a firm hand, tells them the difference between religion and extremism, and shows how she can balance family life with the pressure of running a busy school. A rare look into why women are choosing Islam in today's modern world.


    • 87 min
    • color
    • video
    • Spoken languages: Arabic
    • Subtitles in: English
    Laura Nix, Julia Meltzer
    Julia Meltzer for Clockshop, Laura Nix for Felt Films
    Julia Meltzer, Anne Etheridge
    Monique Zavistovski, Nathaniel Fregoso
    Screening copy

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