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Newsletter July/August 2022

1. PANOPTIC in Dubai, Frankfurt and Münster
2. DIARIES OF A FLYING DOG with Aflamuna online (worldwide)
3. ERASED,___ASCENT OF THE INVISIBLE in Münster and New York
4. THE ONE MAN VILLAGE in Münster and now digital
5. PUBLICATION: Two times Rashidiya and onwards. Filmmaking in Solidarity with the Palestinian Revolution
6. DVD/ of the month - HAUNTED

1. PANOPTIC in Dubai, Frankfurt and Münster

Rana Eid's essay documentary showed on 20.7.22 at Die Linse in Muenster (Germany), on 4 August in the German Film Institute Filmmuseum (DFF) in Frankfurt (in the presence of the director), and will be screening on 14.8.22 at Cinema Akil in Dubai (UAE).

A new take on the genre of city symphony/documentary essay, Eid’s film offers a complex and poetic inquiry into Beirut’s underground and the roots of conflict in her country. (Variety)
Panoptic is a visual work, but Eid’s ability to play these images against experimental soundscapes results in a harrowing, affecting and captivating debut. (4:3 - Four Three Film)

Panoptic is a letter from a daughter to her deceased father in an attempt to reconcile with her country’s turbulent past.
Panoptic delves into Beirut’s underground to explore Lebanon’s schizophrenia: a nation that thrives for modernity while ironically ignoring the vices that obstruct achieving this modernity.
While the Lebanese population has chosen to turn a blind eye to these vices, Rana Eid, an ordinary citizen, explores the nation’s paradoxes through sound, iconic monuments and secret hidings.
In a rare case where the sound landscape of a film dictates the visual landscape, Panoptic is a depiction of the turbulent Lebanese past and the way society copes with trauma.
documentary, Rana Eid, Lebanon 2017, 69 min, Arabic with Engl. or French ST
more | trailer

You can purchase a multi-language DVD or stream the film online here.

2. DIARIES OF A FLYING DOG with Aflamuna online (worldwide)

Bassem Fayad's deeply personal and highly political film shows in the August program of Aflamuna online and world-wide.

A man and his tiny dog have something in common: obsessive compulsive anxiety disorder. Throughout their quest to heal, they dissect into pieces their surrounding - in its upbringing, fears, and constant inner conflict. A memory is recalled; a memory filled with fear, violence, war, love and a past almost depicting itself again in the present and in the future. The setting is a family’s house. A father, a mother, sons, daughters, and grandchildren living on a versant in Lebanon. The time is when beauty faded and ugliness and expiation prevailed. The man is the director, the dog is the mirror and the film is the instrument.
documentary, Lebanon/UAE, 2014, colour, digital, 75 min, Arabic with English subtitles
more | trailer

If you miss the Aflamuna screenings, you can rent the film online here.

3. ERASED,___ASCENT OF THE INVIISIBLE in Münster and New York

Four years after its world premiere in Locarno Ghassan Halwani's film is still touring international screens, in July in Muenster (Germany) and at the ArteEast Unpacking the Archive program (USA).

Halwani's exemplary structural intelligence and moral sophistication allows him to avoid the pratfalls of cinematic archivality: every minute counts. (Cinema Scope)
Erased is a powerful, thoughtful film on death, trauma, and nationhood. (Scene Creek)

Thirty-five years ago, I witnessed the kidnapping of a man I know.
He has disappeared since.
Ten years ago, I caught a glimpse of his face while walking in the street, but I wasn’t sure it was him.
Parts of his face were torn off, but his features had remained unchanged since the incident. Yet something was different, as if he wasn’t the same man.
Director Ghassan Halawani takes the viewer on a forensic paper chase, uncovering, layer by layer, the darkest chapters of Lebanese history on walls, in documents, and urban architecture.
essay-documentary, Lebanon 2018, color and black & white, 76 min, Arabic and English with English subtitles
more | trailer

If you missed the screenings, you can view the film here online or purchase the multi-language DVD.

4. THE ONE MAN VILLAGE in Münster and now digital

Simon El Habre's multi award winning documentary from 2008 is now available digitally with subtitles in various languages and showed on August 1st at Die Linse (Germany).

A wonderful work, in every aspect. (radioeins)
A film full of poetry and simple worldly wisdom. (Berliner Morgenpost)
A film that goes under the skin. (Al-Mustaqbal)
It looks like, this film is the major cinematographic event of the year 2008 in Beirut. (Al-Akhbar)

Semaan is leading a quiet life on his farm in the small village Ain el-Halazoun in the Lebanese mountains. The hamlet was completely emptied and destroyed in combats during the civil war in Lebanon between 1975 and 1990. Today, many years after an official reconciliation, its inhabitants which are all from one family regularly go back to the village to cultivate their plots of land or visit their houses and always leave before sunset.
In his comforting and humorous film Simon El Habre observes the life in his quasi ghost village and tries to reflect on the collective and individual memory in a country that seems to live in a collective amnesia and is vulnerable to a new civil war.
documentary, Simon El Habre, Lebanon 2008, 86 min, color, Arabic with Engl. ST, additional languages available
more | trailer

You can buy the DVD here.

5. PUBLICATION: Two times Rashidiya and onwards. Filmmaking in Solidarity with the Palestinian Revolution

In the book Attention, attention, this is the film office speaking! 42 years of independent film, edited by Christian Fürst and Marcus Seibert 2022, the text "Two times Rashidiya and further. Solidarity in filmmaking with the Palestinian revolution" by Irit Neidhardt (mec film) about the cinematic collaboration between Film Office co-founder Manfred Vosz and Film Office member Robert Krieg with the Palestine Liberation Organization PLO is published (in German).

The book
The Film Office (Filmbüro NW) was founded in 1980 as the first North Rhine-Westphalian film fund, founded by filmmakers who wanted to prove Hellmuth Costard's slogan after a Disney title "The desert is alive". For the 40th anniversary in 2020, a brochure was originally supposed to be published to accompany a big celebration. Instead of a festival, after three years of preparation, the result is 416 full pages of history, shooting reports and anecdotes of North Rhine-Westphalian film.
More than fifty members or sponsored authors, from Claudia von Alemann to Andres Veiel, wrote down their memories for the anthology, interviews were conducted, old photos were excarvated from archives. You learn to what extent Helge Schneider owes his wig to the film office and why Bishkek and Havana were satellites of NRW film. Many reprints of texts, some of which are no longer accessible, make the book a treasure trove of the history of West German film after 1980. (Text: publishing house)

6. DVD/ of the month - HAUNTED

Haunted is not a conventional film. Rather, it draws the viewer into the harrowing interim world of refugees and displaced people. (filmdienst)

While many conflict documentaries naturally perpetuate the demarcation between military and civilian actors, Yazji's presentation of her subjects reflects the condition of individuals where that distinction has been effectively eradicated. By challenging the discernibility of that seen through a snipers lens, sovereign verticality is for a moment symbolically refuted. (Ibraaz)

“When the bombs fell, the first thing we did was run away. It was not until later that we realized we had not looked back. We were not allowed to say goodbye to our home, our memories, our photos and the life that was lived within them. We have become vacant like these spaces; our hastily packed belongings and the forgotten things haunt us.” An uncertain existence followed the escape and expulsion from Syria that tumbled into a physical and mental nowhere, a non-space between yesterday and tomorrow. Haunted tells of the loss of home and security, of the real and metaphorical meaning which a house, a home has in one’s life.

Liwaa Yazji, Syria 2014, documentary, 112 min, Arabic
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Romanian
DVD PAL, region free

Syria, Refugees, Home, Civil War, Escape, Expulsion, Citizen, Portrait

FID Marseilles: Special Mention of the First Film Prize
Festival of the Arab Film Gabès: Bronze Prize

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