The YAMAGATA Documentary Film Library Friday Theater （January 10 Fri）
Screenings at the Yamagata Documentary Film Library present documentaries and movies rarely shown on television or in theaters, including works from the Film Library vaults.
we began by measuring distance
YIDFF 2011 New Asian Currents
Dir: Basma Alsharif / PALESTINE, EGYPT / 2009 / 19 min
There is a mysterious group that measures physical distances between Rome and Geneva, Gaza and Jerusalem, and the measured figures are indicated. This work then shows the process by which those figures gradually gain political meaning. By making the “voice of god” narration cover the familiar images of Palestine, the complicated nationalism of the land is spotlighted. Layers of rich sound and text are intertwined, while images that carry continuity soon bring us toward the fables of Palestine.
My work explores political issues through codes I create within the visual frame for reading the content. Ideas of illusion and disillusion, of truth and conspiracy, of facts and history, manifest themselves in my work through various forms. There is never one central point of focus. What I explore through these issues is creating a language and a space for the various ways in which material information can be read and finding ways of experiencing information rather than understanding it.
I have relied on the environments I live in and experiences I have to influence and drive the pieces I make. I look at the unwritten language of how a landscape or urban environment functions: what defines and constitutes a place, how individuals relate to one another within and in relation to it. I use language, sound, video, film, text, and photography as formal structures that delineate how the narrative will function and how it can be manipulated, and I experiment with representations of history and politics in relation to personal identity and the subjective experience.
I am interested in the space between public and private, between the political and personal, between fiction and fantasy. I am interested in words becoming images, images becoming material, and sound driving the various layers of a work to reveal itself. Most important in my practice is the drive to displace the work from any particular place, culture, or even medium. To take a specific political issue, a particularly loaded image, banal footage, or poetic piece of text and to turn all of this into material, undefined, and to create new information from how the disparate elements come together.
A World Not Ours
YIDFF 2013 International Competition The Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize
Dir: Mahdi Fleifel / PALESTINE, UAE, UK / 2012 / Blu-ray / 93 min
The director, a refugee from Palestine who immigrated to northern Europe, repeatedly returns to a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon where he once lived. He interweaves footage he records there with home videos left behind by his father, unearthing histories of his family and friends and the transformation of this refugee camp with frank storytelling. The tragic situation in which Palestine now finds itself is evoked from a perspective that is neither first person, nor completely third. The title of this film comes from a novel by Ghassan Kanafani, a Palestinian author who was assassinated in 1972.
For me, making this film has been a conscious exercise in creating and maintaining memory. For Palestinians, and particularly those in exile, our identity and our collective memory as a people is constantly under attack, thus the mere act of documentation is part of a struggle to remain visible. Forgetting, for us, would simply mean ceasing to exist. Memories, even those trivial memories of everyday life, are the only proof we have of our existence. This duty to remember, to document, is one that I feel has been handed down to me from my grandfather and, particularly, my father. His obsession with filming nearly every moment in our lives was infectious and I have tried here to build on the record he left to create a portrait of existence as a Palestinian that portrays a more human story, not one solely framed by conflict and suffering.
[Venue]The YAMAGATA Documentary Film Library (Yamagata Big Wing 3F)
[Admission]Free admission for members (Member’s fee: free)
[Presented by]YIDFF (NPO)
[Contact]e-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org (YIDFF Yamagata office)