Join us for a film programme curated by Hind Mezaina at Jameel Arts Centre.
Traversing Landscapes features five short films by artists and filmmakers that foreground landscapes as poignant locales of memory and being.
The screening will be followed by a discussion between Hind Mezaina and Todd Reisz, with audience participation.
Free and open to all, the event is part of Night School 2024: There You Are, a four-week program of seminars and public events about urbanism and history, led by Todd Reisz. More information here.
Please kindly confirm your attendance by registering here.
El Chinero, A Phantom Hill (Bani Khoshnoudi, 2022, France, Mexico, English, Spanish, 11 min) El Chinero is a rugged hill in the desert, located 140 km in the south of Mexicali in the Baja California region of Mexico. Nobody knows since when it bears its name, but everyone has heard of a tragic episode that took place here in 1916… Or were there many such episodes? A few years after the Mexican Revolution of 1910, a massive exodus took place within the country, as deportations and violence targeted Chinese and Asian migrants who had settled in Mexico for many decades. Despite a lack of documentation about the site, it is thought that many people died here while crossing the desert from mainland Mexico. Myth and identity, reality and fiction, ghosts and memory. The film can in some way be seen as a monument to the memory of these forgotten, anonymous people while not officially being one. A site of tragedy with no traces nor remnants to be seen. How can one fill this memory void with images and artefacts in an attempt to construct an archive where none exists?
Transitions (Aurèle Ferrier, 2017, Switzerland, No dialogue, 13 min) A journey from the civilising void of the desert to a maximal urban, capitalistic and hedonistic density, which in the case of Las Vegas assumes some bizarre expression. The film is a contemplation without any people or moving machines in it, focussing on the built and designed.
The Unofficial Countryside (Jacob Cartwright & Nick Jordan, 2021, UK, English, 17min) An observational documentary portrait of the ‘edgeland’ landscapes that exist between the urban and the rural. Titled after naturalist Richard Mabey’s seminal book, the film documents the intrinsic characteristics of these places, where nature thrives on the fringes of the city. Filmed on the outskirts of Manchester, in a patchwork of urban woodland, ramshackle smallholdings, abandoned industrial sites, utility substations, scrapyards, open fields and riverside beaches, the documentary includes a voiceover drawn from Marion Shoard’s essay “Edgelands of Promise”, and captures the rich biodiversity of both native and introduced species, in a landscape shaped by the activities and imprints of people passing through.
Blue Honda Civic (Jussi Eerola, 2020, Finland, No dialogue, 10min) The Romantic landscape paintings often portrayed weather conditions, topography of national landscape, religious themes, spirituality of nature and hunting scenes. Blue Honda Civic is a minimalistic road movie mirroring the emotions of the driver through the landscapes (s)he has chosen to look at.
Shadegan (Ako Salemi, 2019, Iran, No dialogue, 15 min) On a golden morning, twelve-year-old Milad sails out across the Shadegan Wetlands in Khuzestan, a province in southwestern Iran. He skilfully guides his slender boat over vast expanses of water, past untidy villages on the bank and swaying reeds. A dog ambles along the water’s edge, a cock crows in the distance. Like many locals, Milad and his family depend on the wildlife in and around the water for their livelihood. The beautiful shots with hardly any dialogue show an apparently relaxed life, far away from the tyranny of mobile phones. Yet Milad’s life is by no means carefree, and here, too, the threat of drought and pollution looms.
Hind Mezaina is an artist, film curator and writer from Dubai. Her interests lie in cinema, cities, visual culture and archives. Her photography and video practice delves into themes of collective memory, heritage, pop culture in the Gulf region and the depiction of Dubai in the media, including state-run marketing campaigns.
Image credit: Still from Shadegan, Ako Salemi, 2019, courtesy of the filmmaker.
Film synopses: Courtesy of the filmmakers/distributors.SEE ALL EVENTS