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An honest portrayal of patriarchal restraints, Freedom Fields explores the lengths some are willing to take in order to pursue their dreams. Spanning 5 years after the Libyan Revolution, the documentary follows the lives of Fadwa, Halima and Nama members of the Libyas womens football team in their efforts to be recognized as legitimate athletes. When the National Football Federation prohibits them from playing, the women realize that even a revolution cannot cure all of the countrys misogynistic policies. Mirroring images of unrest in the country with issues of gender equality struggling to be heard, the film portrays a frayed Islamic society, teetering on the edge of freedom and control. As the story unravels, viewers are perplexed by the ambiguous National Football Federation: are they actually concerned for the womens safety? Or is there something more unjust behind their intentions?
First time Filmmaker Naziha Arebi imbues the documentary with breathtaking visuals riveting soccer plays, street parades, and bullets whizzing through the night allowing a comprehensive portrayal of Libya to emerge. Shot in a "direct cinema" style, the film provides a close up and personal view of the womens lives. As they deal with their careers, marriage and the aftermath of the revolution two things remain clear: their love for the sport. And each other. UMBER BHATTI
Naziha Arebi was born in 1984 to a Libyan father and English mother. She grew up in Hastings, United Kingdom. Having trained in the world of theatre, she then chose to specialize with an MA in Screen at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. After her studies, she moved to Libya in order to gain a better understanding of her cultural heritage. Current events, daily life and cultural rituals are motifs in her work in an approach that is as much esthetic as it is documentary. Explorations of the notion of freedom, personal and collective, in the face of adversity have become the source of her work and is a recurring theme. As a witness to the political and socio-economic effervescence in Libya, Arebi works at the cross-section between visual arts and activism, attracted to the human details in life that connect us all, the ordinary in the extraordinary and vice versa. Freedom Fields is her debut feature.