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SAFAR Futures Young Programmers: In the Belly of the Beast 18

Part of SAFAR Film Festival 2024: On Dreams, Hopes and Realities
Screened in partnership with SAFAR Film Festival
1979-2015, Various, Various, 76m.

A film event curated by Amel Moyersoen, Loulwah Kutbi and Sally Zarzour, as part of the the SAFAR Futures Young Programmers 2024.

A film programme delving into the complexities of exile and estrangement amidst the escalating violence and devastation in the region. Navigating these crises from a distance, and more specifically from the imperial core, the belly of the beast, these films and their makers give expression to feelings of alienation, contradiction and absurdity of continuing life as usual. Reflecting on past and present turmoil, coupled with haunting reflections on historical legacies, it explores the emotional distance wrought by loss, displacement and the sense of powerlessness experienced when distant from one's roots; while also reflecting on the power of the archive and cultural memory as an instrument of power. They question what is gained in attending to archival and experiential ruins, metaphorically and literally. These films delve into the fears engendered by such experiences, while also probing how diasporic and exilic film makers seek to reestablish connections with their homelands and assert their agency in the face of imperialist violence.

Homage by Assassination (1991)

Elia Suleiman | USA | Arabic and English | 23'

During the first Gulf War, a Palestinian filmmaker sits in his New York apartment, attempting to finish a film script. Even though he makes a concerted effort to block out the outside world, memories of past wars haunt him.

Tigers Are Better Looking (1979)

Hussein Shariffe | UK | English | 21'

A short film directed by Sudanese poet, painter and filmmaker Hussien Sharrife. Using fictive retelling, adapted from Jean Rhys’s book of short stories, the film employs a speculative approach to archives and narration that critiques notions of Western civilization. The film contrasts two different cultural realities, the homeland, Sudan, and the country of exile, Great Britain. Through poetic abstraction, the director manages to portray the strong sense of exile and the longing for the homeland.

Memories For a Private Eye (2015)

Rania Stephan | UAE / Lebanon | Arabic, French, English | 32'

While evoking the language of film noir, the film investigates a personal archive, foregrounding a fictional detective who helps unfold deep and traumatic memories.

Trigger warning: Flashing images, lights, patterns, and other screen effects can trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy.

The screenings are complemented by a discussion on cultural retrieval in the context of loss, generational commitments towards archives that centre personal histories with filmmaker and video artist Rania Stephan and Dr. Eiman Hussein.


Captions: All films will have closed captions. The discussion will be live captioned.

Step free access: There is step free access to the venue from the main entrance, which is at street level. The venue is wheelchair accessible and there is one wheelchair space available on the screen.

Quiet space/ prayer room: There will be a quiet space that has 10 seats available, this space can also be used as a prayer room. However, since the seats are built in, there is not a lot of floorspace for prayer.

For more info on accessibility and how to get there, click here.

The SAFAR Film Festival is the largest festival in the UK dedicated to cinema from the Arab world. Founded in 2012, SAFAR showcases the broad spectrum of film from the region by working with curators on themed programmes and inviting filmmakers for live Q&As and events.

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