Film: Tripoli Cancelled by Naeem Mohaiemen

Tripoli Cancelled (2017, 93’)

 

Tripoli Cancelled follows a week in the life of a man who has been trapped in an airport for a decade, portraying his daily routine of walking, smoking, writing letters, staging scenes, and reading from a weathered copy of the British children’s classic Watership Down. There are no guards or fences, only a few mannequins in Olympic Airlines uniform, Melina Mercouri and Boney M songs, and letters to his wife that mix fantasy and despair. Shot in the Eliinikon Airport in Greece, the script is loosely inspired by Mohaiemen’s father, who was stuck in this same Athens airport for nine days in 1977 after losing his passport on a Bangladesh-India flight. The film merges the post-Holocaust concept of “spectral human” (Hannah Arendt) and “Der Muselmänner” (Primo Levi). Tripoli Cancelled is also a requiem for an expansive post-war architecture, that in the future may not exist.

Tripoli Cancelled was commissioned by documenta 14, co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Jameel.

Naeem Mohaiemen (b. 1969 in London, United Kingdom) works in Dhaka, Bangladesh and New York, USA.

Naeem Mohaiemen researches Third World Decolonization and World Socialism through essays, films, and installations. He is the author of Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (Kunsthalle Basel, 2014), editor of Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism (Drishtipat, 2010) and co-editor of System Error: War is a Force that Gives us Meaning (Sylvana, 2007). His project on partition of India (Kazi in Nomansland) premiered at Third Line, Dubai (2008), film on plane hijacking (United Red Army) at Sharjah Biennial (2011), and three channel film on the nonaligned/islamic “pivot” (Two Meetings and a Funeral) had UAE premiere at Sharjah Art Foundation (2018).

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