The first of two screening programmes animating the work of Basma al-Sharif, BFMAF24 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.
We Began by Measuring Distance – Long still frames, text, language, and sound are weaved together to form a narrative of an anonymous group who fill their time by measuring distance. Innocent measurements transition into political ones, examining how image and sound communicate history. A film that began as hours of unrelated footage, We Began… evolved into a personal reflection on the irreconcilable reality of witnessing tragedy from a physical distance. A document of a history, an event, or simply a feeling.
The Story of Milk and Honey – The failure of an unknown author to write a love story about the Levant grounds this short experiential video exploring the positionality of the individual in tellings of history. Layering voiceover, images, letters and songs, a story of defeat becomes a journey of transformation. Part of a larger multimodal project, The Story of Milk and Honey confronts questions of nationalism and orientalism arising from representations of the Middle-East.
Home Movies Gaza – Home Movies Gaza introduces us to the Gaza Strip as a microcosm for the failure of civilization. In an attempt to describe the everyday of a place that struggles for the most basic of human rights, this video claims a perspective from within the domestic spaces of a territory that is complicated, derelict, and altogether impossible to separate from its political identity.
Wawa – Wawa peeks at the anxieties and difficulties of communication through the interactions between speakers of an endangered Indigenous language, each from differing cultural backgrounds and generations. By transforming the chronology of the language, it weaves past and present into a single entity and confronts various modes of conversation, translation, identity, and history.
We Began by Measuring Distance | Dir. Basma al-Sharif | Egypt | 2009 | 19m | Arabic with English subtitles
The Story of Milk and Honey | Dir. Basma al-Sharif | Lebanon | 2011 | 10m | Arabic with English subtitles
Home Movies Gaza | Dir. Basma al-Sharif | France, Palestine | 2013 | 24m | Arabic with English subtitles
Wawa | Dir. Sky Hopinka | United States | 2014 | 6m | Chinuk Wawa & English with English subtitles