Film Archive

International Programme 2017
Burka Songs 2.0 Hanna Högstedt

A performance against the French ban on face veils becomes the starting point of a multifaceted examination of (structural) racism and (activist) arrogance.

Burka Songs 2.0

Documentary Film
45 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hanna Högstedt, Archana Khanna
Hanna Högstedt
Annika Busch, Maja Kekonius
Hanna Högstedt, Annika Ivarsson
Hanna Högstedt
Gustaf Berger
After a nationwide debate wearing a face veil was legally banned in France in 2011. The supporters argued that the veil was opposed to the values of the republic: equality of the sexes and freedom from religious oppression. The Swedish filmmaker Hanna Högstedt believes that this is populist symbolic politics and decides to act in a performance on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées that she has recorded on film: dressed in a black burka she sings the French national anthem at the top of her voice.

The reactions are not as expected. “Burka Songs 2.0” is Högstedt’s way of coming to terms with what happened during the filming and what reflections this triggered. She describes how difficult it is to find an attitude towards a political rhetoric regarded as dishonest and courting the masses without being drawn into the maelstrom of attributions herself. She realises that she won’t find satisfactory answers to her questions and decides to make her perplexity the starting point of this film. Högsted’s perspective is changed by talking to people who experience racism – with no intention to provoke – in their daily life. The Swedish filmmaker works her way through the ambivalence of her subject and at last reaches the conclusion that her own actions were – and are – not without presumption either.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann