Against The Grain

In the opening scene of The Imperialists Are Still Alive!, the first full-length feature from 34-year-old writer and director Zeina Durra, a French woman of Middle Eastern origins stands nude—save for a carefully placed head scarf—and smokes a cigarette. This provocative image sets the tone for Imperialists, which follows the conceptual artist, Asya (Élodie Bouchez), as she navigates post-9/11 New York’s glamorous underground amid political chaos across the Atlantic in Palestine and new romance in her adopted home city. Shot in grainy Super 16mm, the production explores the intersections between urban émigré culture, bohemian privilege, and cross-Atlantic Bush-era tension, intentionally bluring these issues so that they become seamlessly one and the same. More info at