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The Throwing of Fire

Director: Hussein Shariffe
Documentary film released in 1973,

About the Film: The throwing of fire is a documentary about a tribe in Ingassena, in the southern Blue Nile. They worshipped fire and the sun. After harvest they celebrated by dancing and festivities and a ritual involving throwing and burning embers on the fields. The dance is a ritual in honour of the sun, in honour of the abundance of the sun's largesse. The ritual is a prayer of gratitude to the sun for a plentiful harvest. It is a fertility rite.

The film received critical acclaim when it was released in 1973. It was a short, straightforward documentary about a remote tribal people and their time-honoured traditions.

The Dislocation of Amber

Director: Hussein Shariffe
Production: Sudanese Department of Culture
Film Unit, Sudan
Photography: Abdel Moneim Aladawy
Montage: Allan Ballard
Year: 1975
Runtime: 32 minutes
Language: Arabic

About the Film: The “Dislocation of Amber” was filmed in the city of Suakin, a formerly flourishing port in Sudan. All those who have previously written on Suakin admitted to the complexity of the town as a subject. So intriguing is Suakin that not even the origin of its name is agreed upon. Its history is one of famine & opulence, devastation and progress, rich trade and damage, involving colonialism. What makes Suakin so abidingly memorable is its resilience, built through war and conquests, the historical town is a product of determination and competitiveness.
Today the city lies in ruins, a shadow of its former self. Shariffe used symbols -- scorpions, seashells, and camel caravans -- to accentuate a sense of utter desertion. Suakin's vacant coral buildings, a naked man crucified, slaves by the sea crouching on the beach, all lend signs to the film. Starting from his selection of the title of the film “Dislocation of Amber” which is self explanatory, no amber can be dislocated, it is too difficult to do that, but the name provides a metaphorical likeness to disassociating beauty from ugliness and life from none.
The poems in the film were sung by the late Sudanese singer Abdel-Aziz Dawoud providing background music.

“Only faint traces of its ancient affluence are apparent today… a dimmed reflection in a cracked mirror; empty eyes with the stars in a different house, laughter in another room” Hussein Shariffe, 1974.

Tigers Are Better Looking

Director: Hussein Shariffe
Production: National Film and Television School, Beaconsfield Studios, UK.
Scenario: Hussein Shariffe, adaptation
Photography: Pascoe Macfarlane
Montage: Clare Mussel, Alan Tyrer
Year: 1979
Runtime: 20 minutes
Language: English

About the Film: Tigers are Better Looking is an adaptation of a short story by Jean Rhys. In the film, Shariffe directs his view towards exile in Europe, showing the wide disparity between North and South. The film contrasts two different civilisations, the homeland, Sudan, and the country of exile, Great Britain. Through poetic abstractions the director manages to portray the strong sense of exile and the longing for the homeland.

The film received special commendation in the Tour Festival, France, 1980.

Not the Waters of the Moon

Director: Hussein Shariffe
Production: UNICEF.
Year: 1985

About the Film: Not the Waters of the Moon is an educational documentary developed for UNICEF. The film is to encourage vaccination of children in rural areas. The title of the film was carefully selected by the Director, to explain simply to the villagers that it is not a difficult task to perform vaccination.

Diary in Exile

Director: Attiyat El-Abnoudi and Hussein Shariffe
Production: The Sudanese Organization for Human Rights
Year: 1993
Runtime: 52 minutes
Language: English with Arabic

About the Film: Diary in Exile is a documentary film that uses a combination of sound, image, colour and peoples testimonies to historically account for the period following the fundamentalist military coup in the Sudan in 1989. This period witnessed the migration of a staggering number of Sudanese from their country to all parts of the World. The Sudan became an expellant of its people.

The greater majority of Sudanese migrants headed to Egypt, where the film was shot, there is an estimated number of 3 million Sudanese migrants to Egypt since the military coup.

Moving between different strata of Sudanese communities in Egypt the film, through various personal testimonies, throws light on the living conditions of ordinary people. All provide pieces of the saga, all have taken refuge in Egypt. All dream of returning back to Sudan, one day.

The film was premiered at the United Nations Human Rights Conference, Vienna, in 1993.


Director: Hussein Shariffe
Year: In preparation
Running Time: 90 minutes

About the Film: Al-Wathiq is the story of a Sudanese Robin Hood –like figure, Al-Wathiq Sabah Al-Kheir who robbed the rich and distributed his loot among the poor. Al-Wathiq emerged on the Sudanese scene at the time of the introduction of the Islamic Shari'a (or September) laws in 1985 by the then military ruler Jaafar Al- Nemeiri.
Al-Wathiq used to knock at poor peoples doors in the middle of the night, bringing them food and money, when asked who he was, he would say that he was a representative from a humanitarian aid organization. Al- Wathiq stole expensive cars, broke into wealthy homes, raided police stations. But he was caught in the end. His trial lasted an hour, with little evidence if any. He was crucified for 40 minutes before being put to death. His funeral turned into a political demonstration. Al-Wathiq became a legend even during his own lifetime.
Unfortunately Al-Wathiq’s film never saw limelight as there was no funding to complete the film.


Director: Hussein Shariffe
Year: In preparation
Runtime: 52 minutes
Language: English with Arabic

About the Film: Dawood is a biographical documentary documenting the life and works of the Sudanese singer AbdelAziz Muhammed Dawood. ‘Abu Dawood’, as he was well known as, had wanted to document and present his works in a very different way than was exhibited in Sudanese television. As such Ali ElMek recommended to him Hussein Shariffe, as the best person whom will be able to do that. Indeed in 1984, they started recording Abu Dawood. The film was never completed following the sudden death of Abu Dawood.