Again, Palestine. Palestinian Women Filmmakers
PALESTINIAN WOMEN FILMMAKERS
All the works here act as recurrences, as repetitions, as returns, as revisits, as remembering. They are held jointly by an act that takes place again. They share the again. The Latin “re-“. Again is temporal, it indicates that either an exact or a similar act happens once more, but in another time. So, perhaps this film programme is about that once more, the again in relation to Palestine. How repetition resonates in the context of Palestine, not only as a geo-political entity, but as an imaginary that is born out of decades of resistance to a number of forms of oppression, imposed by settle colonial structure of the occupation of Palestinian land. Furthermore, the works screened as part of this programme pose as narrative measures testing the elasticity of the filmic form, which only makes sense given the complexity of Palestine.
The five films that comprise this programme are Pasolini Pa* Palestine, by Ayreen Anastas; Am I the Ageless Object at the Museum, by Noor Abuarafeh; Ouroboros, by Basma Alsharif; I Feel Nothing, by Jumana Emil Abboud, and Ibrahim: A Fate to Define, by Lina Alabed.
Pasolini Pa* Palestine, by Ayreen Anastas is a return to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film Seeking Locations in Palestine for The Gospel According to Matthew, which he made in 1963 while scouting for locations in Palestine to shoot his film. He in the end made the film in Italy. Anastas’ film however doubles as a repetition of Pasolini’s journey 40 years earlier. It adapts his script into a route map superimposed on the current landscape, creating contradictions and breaks between the visual and the audible, the expected and the real. The project ventures a conversation and a dialogue with Pasolini, especially his ‘Poem for the Third World’.
In Noor Abuarafeh’s Am I the Ageless Object at the Museum, the main character, the narrator of the film goes on to reveal to us his repeated visits to the zoo and his failure to remember certain details, the zoo guard in particular and what are strategies he appropriates to surpass this failure. The film looks at the zoo and its historical relation to the museum on one hand, while questioning their relationship to cemeteries on the other. The film is the final episode in a series of works that address the museum as a site for the distortion of memory. “[…] in Am I the Ageless Object at the Museum the character can’t remember the museum guard (which he always sees at the museum) unless he links the guard’s appearance to the shape of the insect, which in his case essentially means that in order to remember something from the museum, he needs to link it to something outside the museum in order to be able to recognize/remember it.” (Noor Abuarafeh)
Basma Alsharif’s cyclical Ouroboros is an exercise of recurrence, an homage to the Gaza Strip based on the eternal return, marking an end as the beginning, an ouroboros. The film follows Diego, a man traversing five different landscapes (in the USA, Italy, and France) upending mass-mediated representation of trauma. The film and its character pass through brief yet profound encounters with the locations, forcing us to look for the relationship between the different histories of destruction, and how moving forward is possible when all hope is lost. “[…] This is something I saw happening in Gaza —that the only way to move forward and survive the atrocities that are happening there is to forget the past. But equally I wanted to explore whether this means we are driving toward our own self-destruction. I tried to link what is happening to Gaza to other sites, other histories and other landscapes that have had various levels of upheavals or oppressions, or have been able to preserve their heritage —to make it un-unique in a way.” (Basma Alsharif)
I Feel Nothing, by Jumana Emil Abboud, is yet another act of remembering. The film metaphorically recounts the tale of ‘The Handless Maiden’ as told in the Palestinian folklore. The video-poem is filmed at the Museum of Classical Archaeology in Cambridge, and the Freud Museum in London and at various sites of the Palestinian folklore, the landscape in Palestine. The narration alludes to a relationship, but with no clear indications between whom or what.
Ibrahim: A Fate to Define by Lina Alabed, is the directors intention on returning to the past to uncover the truth behind her father’s disappearance when she was six. She visits her siblings, mother and close family members and friends to recount, and remember the disappearance and understand how it has resonated in each of their lives.
Again. Palestine Curator