Daughters of Abdul-Rahman

Daughters of Abdul-Rahman is a universal family drama about women making choices in a patriarchal society. It is an uplifting tale about four very different sisters who have to confront the truth about themselves when their father suddenly goes missing. The four sisters may or may not find their father, but through the experience of searching for him they will realize they are a part of each other's lives, and their newfound unity will enlighten them.

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A film by Zaid Abu Hamdan.

*The actors in this video are not the final cast.

After a lifetime of being trapped by tradition in a lower middle-class neighborhood in Amman, Zainab lives a dreary existence as a local seamstress and her father’s keeper; a stubborn and emotionally distant old man who is going blind. The day Zainab decides to break the shackles of her past her father mysteriously disappears, dashing all her hopes of making a life-changing decision. Zainab must now reunite with her three estranged sisters at the old family home, to find their family patriarch.

Zainab soon realizes that she has unwillingly created a recipe for disaster: Cold, cynical and rich Samah argues with Amaal who is poor, extremely religious and wears the niqab. In turn, they clash with their liberal, stubborn and overly independent little sister Khitam. Along the way the sisters discover - through fights and laughs - that their father, much like them, was a victim of cultural conformity. Only by uniting will they be able to overcome their differences, find their father, and realize who they truly want to be.

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Director's Note:

I grew up in the Middle East during the 80s and 90s with four brothers. Being a boy myself and having never had sisters, I always wondered: what if we were 4 girls living under the same conditions? Would my 3 brothers be as happy as they are today, if they were women? Would my modern Jordanian parents still be content if I was the same film director at age 32 living alone in Hollywood, but a woman? Or would being married with children seem more appropriate for a Middle Eastern woman at this age? How are tradition, modernity and the need for social acceptance defined in the Middle East and precisely Jordan? Do patriarchal societies dictate the lives of women, and men alike? Despite people's attempts to overcome tradition, conformity and sometimes indoctrination, a part of them still wants it, a part of them feels safer with it. To tap into all this, a boy turns to his mother!

My mother is a content mother and wife, but is that all what she needs? Does she have dreams and hopes that fade away under the social pressure of having to be the good big sister, good wife then good mother of four boys? Do women or even men in this part of the world make their personal life decisions independently from the influences of family and culture? An awakening made me start carrying my notebook in Amman, observing traditions, analyzing behaviors, meeting different women and urging them to open up. Representing my idea in a family of 4 sisters and their father, I started writing my film treatment in 2009.

The theme of the film investigates how gossip and fear of scandal shapes the lives of people in our societies. Abiding by the social formula of acceptance is the only way to “fit in.” I realized that our life stories are inherently oppressed, and the one way to stop that is to end a self-fulfilling chain of suppressed mothers.

Daughters of Abdul-Rahman is an unapologetic, female-empowering film that will deal with serious issues in a poetic yet dark comedic style. This is not a drama that condemns the man or victimizes the woman, nor it is a comedy that stays on the surface. This film is a dramatic comedy that explores a patriarchal society practiced by both, men and also women.

Jordan is an extremely diverse culture that is ruled by a set of traditions. Many of these traditions are positive, strong and honorable, while some others…Well, that’s why I am making this film! Please e-mail me with any questions and inquiries: funding.daughters@gmail.com.

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Enjoy this previous work by Zaid: