A Magical Substance Flows Into Me
2015 - Palestine, Germany, UK
Robert Lachmann was a German-Jewish ethnomusicologist. In the 1930s, his radio show "Oriental Music" explored the musical traditions of Palestine and included regular live performances by musicians from different ethnic and religious groups.
Inspired by Lachmann’s musicological studies, Palestinian artist Jumana Manna travels through Israel and the Palestinian territories of today with recordings from the programme. What do these songs sound like now when performed by Moroccan, Kurdish, or Yemenite Jews, by Samaritans, members of the urban and rural Palestinian communities, Bedouins and Coptic Christians?
When a true fascination for history meets the sounds of the rababa, the saz, the oud and tin cans, a cultural diversity emerges that subverts the distinction between "Arab" and "Jewish". There are no national borders here, only different kitchens where people make music together – with their guests, while cooking, while someone makes the coffee. Until the music becomes so infectious you can’t help but dance along.
2015 - UK
The Gaza Strip as a myth: isolated, timeless, almost inaccessible, extremely tense. The accompanying animation adds a fictional layer.
Filmmaker Nashashibi presents Gaza as a place from myth: isolated, suspended in time, difficult to access and highly charged. The accompanying animation and a distinctive soundtrack add a fictive layer that reflects everyday harshness. As outsiders we remain conscious of our exotic perspective.
Abu Ammar is Coming
2016 - Bangladesh, Lebanon, UK
In Naeem Mohaiemen’s latest installment of his exploration of the revolutionary left, his starting point is a picture taken of five men in Beirut in the early 1980s. The black-and-white image shows them posing in a bombed-out building, all in military fatigues, all but one facing out to the hors-champ. Speculations on the historical background of the photo – the identity of the men and the engagement of Bangladeshi freedom fighters in the revolutionary struggle of the PLO – intermingle with aesthetic musings on the color of the light on the day the photo was taken. Interviews and research in Beirut and London yield responses of indifference and fear of prosecution for talking about past battles.
Abu Ammar is Coming follows the path of the picture and the mysterious disappearance of all residue of what was once a moment of global solidarity. The film’s title refers to the ‘guerrilla period’ nom de guerre of Yasser Arafat, and pivots on a story told in Beirut of the Bangladeshi fighters being sent out of the city with ships carrying the remnants of the PLO after the collapse of Lebanon as a Palestinian stronghold. Like many stories connected to the image, this one also merges promise and heartbreak.