This short animation explores various ways to narrate an incident that once took place in the mythical Hotel Carlton. Against images of the deserted hotel today, the artist sketches situations that evoke the rumors that once circulated around the place and the people who inhabited it.
Following the Israeli withdrawal from Ain el Mir in 1985, the village became the frontline. The Dagher family was displaced from their home, which was occupied by a radical resistance group for seven years. When the war ended in 1991, Ali Hashisho, a member of the Lebanese resistance stationed in the Dagher family house, wrote a letter to them justifying his occupation there, and welcoming them back home. He placed the letter inside the empty case of a B-10, 82mm mortar, and buried it in the garden. In November 2002, Akram Zaatari headed to Ain el Mir to excavate Ali's letter.
With a combination of Hollywood, European, and Israeli film; documentary; news coverage; and excerpts of 'live' footage shot in the West Bank and Gaza strip, Muqaddimah Li-Nihayat Jidal(Introduction to the End of an Argument) critiques representations of the Middle East, Arab culture, and the Palestinian people produced by the West. The video mimics the dominant media's forms of representation, subverting its methodology and construction.
Right after the first Iraq war, the filmmaker visits his family in Iraq. He tries to reconstruct the war from different points of view, all depicted on the same screen at the same time: U.S. airplanes dropping bombs, his parents fixated on the television, and the family welcoming him back.
It's not my memory of it is a documentary about secrecy, memory, and documents. Mobilizing specific historical records as memories which flash up in moments of danger, the video addresses the expansion and intensification of secrecy practices in the current climate of heightened security. A former CIA source recounts his disappearance through shredded classified documents that were painstakingly reassembled by radical fundamentalist students in Iran in 1979.
The work of Dani Leventhal explores the complicated space that exists between decay and renewal, intimacy and disconnection and the sacred and mundane. The six pieces that comprise Dani Leventhal Videoworks: Volume 1 each examine these ambiguous emotional and psychic spaces through a use of montage that is at once both unstructured and dispassionate and lyrically sentimental.
Set in the industrial suburbs of Beirut, Majnounak (Crazy of You) explores male sexuality through interviews with three men who are asked to recount very openly the beginning, middle, and end of a sexual relationship they have experienced. The video explores the image they wanted to project of themselves, hence the image of the "male" they identify with. Their stories are alike, starting with seduction and ending after sex.
In this video, the artist tries to overcome the effects of distance, and reflects on geography represented in exile due to war, and on the psychological distance represented in each one’s approach to her womanhood. The video beautifully weaves personal images and audio recordings of a very intimate nature, binding the personal with the political.
Mohamed Yousry: A Life Stands Still (also known as Good Translator) is a short documentary about Mohamed Yousry, a naturalized American citizen who's life changed radically after September 11, 2001. Mohamed immigrated to the United States in 1980. For the next twenty years, he developed a full and happy life, as a husband, father, and academic. On September 13, 2001 Mohamed was approached by the FBI on his doorstep in Queens, NY. After appeal processes and an attempt to extradite him, Mohamed was sentenced to four years in a federal penitentiary in Fort Worth, TX.
In 1985, Hassan Zbib and Olga Nakkas separately started to develop film scenarios based on simple narratives, and would shoot them on Super 8, which was still possible to develop in Beirut at the time. Their work featured the city as a stage where lonely characters drifted: a taxi driver in his car, a man walking around, talking to a Rambo poster.
...were repeatedly raised and lowered and people grew exhausted from never knowing if the moment was at hand or was still to come A project of The Speculative Archive "Peace. I don't want it. Justice. Why? Victory? Makes me sick! Love? What a pity. Freedom? Ugly! Friendship? My ass!" Rami Farah, a young Syrian performer, uses various modes of address such as a promise, a threat, a curse, a joke, a lament, and a premonition in order to speak to the current state of affairs in Syria and the Middle East.