The second of two screening programmes animating the work of Basma al-Sharif, BFMAF 24 Filmmaker in Focus.
Born stateless and of Palestinian heritage, her work explores cyclical political histories and conflicts. In films and installations that move backward and forward in history, between place and non-place, she confronts the legacy of colonialism through satirical, immersive, and lyrical works.
Renée’s Room – Renée is not a person, Renée is the Renaissance in a cycle of eternal return. Filmed in Death Valley, Matera, Brittany and The Gaza Strip, the video weaves together disparate landscapes in a succession of recursive vignettes. The ruined land and the land in ruins endlessly collide, troubling the relationship between representation and experience, asking whether survival leads inevitably to self-destruction.
Capital – Tracing throughlines between Italian Telefoni Bianchi (white telephone) films of the 1930s and the building of contemporary cities in Egypt, Alsharif searches for legacies inherent in the physical and political construction of new capitals. Distilling and subverting the film’s frivolous, bourgeois motifs and mobilising the character of the ventriloquist, she confronts the silencing of speech and the colonial distortions of seemingly bygone eras of fascism.
Monelle – Amongst the monolithic spaces of the Casa del Fascio – a building designed as headquarters for the regional Fascist Party under Mussolini – a group of young girls lie sleeping. Around their motionless bodies, a shadow cast of animated presences. Operating between the cold minimalism of structural cinema and the affective intensity of horror films, Monelle circumscribes a place and a feeling infused with deep disquiet.
Renée’s Room | Dir. Basma al-Sharif | France | 2016 | 15m |
Capital | Dir. Basma al-Sharif | Egypt, Italy, Germany | 2023 | 17m |
Monelle | Dir. Diego Marcon | Italy | 2017 | 16m |