The whole video flirts with a concept of duality, fire versus water, modernity vs. tradition, daring vs. modest, dainty vs. crude, insinuating it’s not always one or the other. Sometimes these things coexist.
Every scene plays a part in deconstructing the misconceptions and stereotypes of Arab womanhood which Abir is committed to serving her audience through snappy,
throat-heavy vocals laid on hyper contemporary musical snares influenced by regional sonorities yet engineered to produce captivating soundscapes.
Set in Morocco, Abir’s country of origin, and produced with the help of an entirely local ground team in collaboration with MENA regional artists such as Amsterdam based, Egyptian director Sharif Abdel Mawla, Inferno is the soundtrack to Abir’s homecoming.
Filming the video in this deeply personal setting added a layer of charged emotion to the project. There is a feeling of reconnection to cultural tradition through a lens of innovative perspective.
Symbolic elements run throughout the visual storytelling and show up in different circumstances and stylistic plays, such as clothing, glam, scene composition, and natural elements.
The opposition between male and female has a groundbreaking role in the narrative, portraying men as bystanders rather than rulers, breaking the stereotype of oppression perpetuated by the skewed Western view of Islam.
Female characters show up dressed in full traditional looks and modern styling alike as a way to personify the diversity found in Arab and Muslim women. One rule doesn’t apply to all.
Abir’s figure is pivotal in dismantling this boring narrative, as she loudly states in Rebirth. Her presence is powerful; her confident moves are inspiring and captivating. Her dark, long hair against the desert landscape, the lightweight fabric covering her sinuous silhouette, turn the singer into a Goddess-like character dictating the tempo and orchestrating the atmosphere. At times it is almost like Abir is directing the camera with her magnetic gaze filtering through the beaded, metallic headpiece veiling her face.
The climax is reached through a compelling juxtaposition of water and fire. Abir stands in the middle of a circle of fire lighting upon the surface of a lake at dawn. The scene sets the tone for what’s to come, attributing the artist with the power to stir up a cultural revolution and affirm herself as whatever she wants to be, unapologetically.
Inferno is an ode to Arab and Muslim womanhood. A manifesto for female empowerment. The soundtrack to the story of the third culture children in a world that praises tradition but only when it fits its standards and cultural revolution only when it doesn’t shatter its comfort zone.
Miilkiina was a part of the project’s creative direction and cultural consulting process from beginning to end, reiterating the need for a new space that is multi-faceted and groundbreaking.
Director: Sharif Abdel Mawla
Video Commissioner: Shadeh Smith
Creative Director: Miilkiina
Executive Producer: Sara Nix
Production Company: Partizan Entertainment
Cinematographer: Daan Bukman
Editor: Rigel Kilston / Splash Studios
Colorist: Joppo / De Grot
Production Designer: Desiree Brands
Stylist: Lorena Maza
Hair Artist: Ilham Mestour
Makeup Artist: Karima Maruan
Choreographer: Janelle Jalila Issis
Focus Puller: Rob van Dam
Local Producer: Fouad Challa / Dreamaker Productions
First AD: Bandar Atifi
Location Manager: Othman Al Khammari
Art Director: Marian Filali
Assistant Styling: Fatima Zahra Akhamlich