Third film in Wael Shawky's 'Cabaret Crusades' trilogy on view at Blanton Museum of Art

"History and theatre are caught up in each other. That’s why I chose the title Cabaret Crusades." – Wael Shawky

The final instalment of Wael Shawky's Cabaret Crusades trilogy, Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbala (2015), is now on view at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. This third film continues Shawky's exploration of the Crusades religious wars fought in the Medieval period, and is based on the 1983 book The Crusades through Arab Eyes by French-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf. Interested in history’s interpretation as well as history itself, Shawky creates a highly stylised visual language using marionette puppets, produced in blown glass at the Berengo Glass Studio in Murano, and a handmade, revolving set.

Though the film’s source material was originally written in French, Shawky translated excerpts of the text into classical Arabic — a nod to the book’s title and concept — in order to create his script. The puppets speak in Arabic with subtitles in English. The result is a mesmerising journey through a conflict whose effects still resonate in today’s world.
Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbala is on view until 19 April 2020. Find more information here.
December 17, 2019
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