November 15, 7pm EST
Films are in Arabic with English subtitles.
Discussion will be in English and Arabic, with live translation when necessary
From intimate portrayal to experimental cinema, this program of queer shorts from Palestine and Lebanon examines the intersection of gender and sexual identity with the Palestinian liberation struggle. Followed by a discussion with Raffat Hattab, Mohamed Souied, and Roy Dib.
While Hattab’s Houria locates freedom in the sexless mermaid, whose human anatomy is truncated from the waist down, his “Bride of Palestine” alter ego uses gender as a tool to problematize political oppression.
Houriah weaves together the stories of Hattab and his grandmother Yousra to reflect on fluid modes of belonging. Yousra was expelled from her village Jamaseen Al-Garbi by Zionist paramilitary groups in 1948, and she remains witness to the decline of Jaffa’s glory where she resettled after the Nakba. On the other hand, Hattab, presented as a hybrid mermaid and a symbol of the shores of Manshiyyeh (North of Tel Aviv), embodies both the liminality of those who were driven out of Palestine and the longing desire to belong to the Palestinian nation.
Raafat Hattab, Born in Jaffa 1981
2005 B.Ed.FA, HaMidrasha Faculty of Arts, Beit Berl, Kfar Saba.
2015 MFA, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem.
Co-founder of Alfred Gallery in 2005. Member until 2012
Co-founder of Alqaws for sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society. Active member till 2012.
2013 to present: member of The Center of Inter-Religious Peace.
BLESSED BLESSED OBLIVION
Inspired by Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising (1963), Blessed Blessed Oblivion weaves together a portrait of male thug culture in East Jerusalem, manifested in barbershops, autoshops and bodybuilding.
The video uses visual collage and the musical soundtrack as ironic commentary. Anger’s subjects — leather-clad bikers, serve as a counterpoint to the culture Manna attempts to portray, that of popular male “thug” culture in East Jerusalem. Simultaneously psychologizing and allowing herself to be seduced by the characters, Manna finds herself in a double bind similar to the conflicted desire that animates her protagonist as he drifts from abject rants to declamations of heroic poetry or unashamed self-praise.
Jumana Manna is a visual artist working primarily with film and sculpture. Her work explores how power is articulated through relationships, often focusing on the body, land and materiality in relation to colonial inheritances and histories of place. Jumana was raised in Jerusalem and lives in Berlin.
Mondial 2010 is a film on love and place. A Lebanese gay couple decides to take a road trip to Ramallah. The film is recorded with their camera as they chronicle their journey. The viewers are invited through the couple’s conversations into the universe of a fading city.
Mondial 2010 is a discussion of institutional borders in modern day Middle East. It uses video as an apparatus to transgress boundaries that are inflicted on people in spite of them. It is a travel film in a trajectory that doesn’t allow travel, starring two male lovers, in a setting where homosexuality is a punishable felony. Shot with a hand-held camcorder, Mondial 2010 borrows the aesthetics of a travel video log. It normalizes the abnormal, and by doing so creates its own universe of possibility. It is a shift from the mainstream passive view of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict that places the victim/oppressor in the forefront of the produced imagery. This video glides over this conflict with an upper hand.
The relations between Israelis and Lebanese are governed by the 1943 Lebanese Criminal Code and the 1955 Lebanese Anti-Israeli Boycott Law, the former of which forbids any interaction with nationals of enemy states, and the latter of which specifies Israelis, making a trip for a Lebanese citizen to Israel (or Palestinian Territories) impossible.
Roy Dib, born in 1983, works and lives in Beirut.
On both formal and conceptual levels, artist and filmmaker Roy Dib challenges common notions of space and boundary, weaving together archival material, scripted text and hypothetical circumstances to chronicle the political narratives of our day.
His work was presented at Studio la Città, Verona (2021), Es Baluard Museu d’Art Contemporani De Palma (2021), Loop Barcelona (2020), Galerie Tanit (2018), MAXXI Museum (2017), Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017), ALFILM (2017), JCC (2016), Forum Expanded – 64th and 65th Berlinale,
Exposure 2015 – Beirut Art Center, Uppsala International Short Film Festival (2014), Queer Lisboa (2014), Images Festival (2016) – Toronto, Contemporary Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil (2013, 2015 and 2017), Ashkal Alwan (2014) – Beirut, Video Works (2011 – 2014) – Beirut.
CINEMA AL FOUAD
A documentary on the life and ambitions of a young Syrian trans woman. The video follows her journey from soldier to cabaret dancer in an effort to raise funds for her sex-change operation. Shot in Beirut, Cinema Al Fouad weaves a complex and multi-layered story of sexuality, identity and desire and paints a compelling portrait of its subject.
Mohamed Soueid is a Lebanese writer, director, and producer. Born in Beirut 1959. He is currently the Head of Documentary department at Al Arabiya News Channel. As a director, he has directed several films, including:
The Insomnia Of A Serial Dreamer (2020); Hanging Dates Under Aleppo’s Citadel (2013); A Spell of Absence (2011); How Bitter My Sweet (2009), My Heart Beats Only For Her (2008); The Sky Is Not Always Above (2007); Civil War (2002); Nightfall (2000); Tango of Yearning (1998).
Mohamed Soueid wrote 3 books: “Postponed Cinema – Lebanese Films During the Civil War” (Essay, Published in Beirut 1986); “O Heart – A Film Autobiography On The Late Movie Theatres Of Old Beirut, Published in Beirut, 1996); “Cabaret Souad” (Novel, Published in Beirut, 2004)
A conversation with Roy Dib (Mondial 2010, 2014) and Raafat Hattab (Houria, 2011)
Moderators: Artist and educator Razan Al-Salah and filmmaker Muhammad Nour ElKhairy