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THE VOID PROJECT
Wednesday, May 24
Filmmaker Azza El-Hassan founded the Void Project in 2018 to explore the presence and absence of visual archives in wartime narratives. The project focuses on restoring and reimagining existing and lost films. The examples in this series focus specifically on visualizing Palestine. To learn more about the Void Project, visit https://www.thevoidproject.org/.
JERUSALEM, FLOWER OF ALL CITIES
(1969, DCP, 7m) dir Ali Siam. A harmonious picture of Palestinian civil life is disturbed by the Israeli army’s occupation of the city following the 1967 war with Israel. Set to the sound track “The Flower of all Cities”, a famous song by Fairouz, the film retains contemporary relevance.
Jerusalem, Flower of All Cities was restored in 2017 by Azza El-Hassan, with the support of Creative Interruptions AHRC
PALESTINE IN THE EYE
(1977, DCP, 28m) dir Mustafa Abu Ali. Palestine in the Eye chronicles the profound impact of Hani Jawhariyyeh’s death on the PLO Film Unit. The film reflects on his life through interviews with family, colleagues, and his own cinematography, including the moment of his death while filming a battle for the Unit in 1976. Although the film has later been attributed to Mustafa Abu Ali, the Unit’s method of work was to describe everyone as a collective of “workers,” and we see this in the film titles, which collectively list the names of all those who participated as a non-hierarchical collective. Through this reflection on Jawhariyyeh, we are offered an understanding of the workings of the Palestine Film Unit and its international connections.
Palestine in the Eye was restored in 2017 by Azza El-Hassan, with the support of Creative Interruptions AHRC.
THE MAKING OF A REVOLUTIONARY FILM aka THE PLACE 2
(2019, DCP, 7m) dir Azza El-Hassan. From the personal photo album of Palestinian photographer and cinematographer Hani Jawhariyyeh, director Azza El-Hassan reconstructs the last five minutes of Jawhariyyeh’s life, who was killed while filming a battle in the mountains in Lebanon. The five minutes were featured in Palestine in the Eye (1977), a film made by the Palestinian Cinema Institute to commemorate the life of one of its founders. Yet, forty two years later, what motivates these images takes on a different turn.
KINGS AND EXTRAS: DIGGING FOR A PALESTINIAN IMAGE
(2004, DCP, 62m) dir Azza El-Hassan. The films in the PLO’s Cinema Institution archives were meant as records of a self-determined image of Palestinian reality until they went missing during the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982. In a “road movie” from Palestine to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, director Azza El-Hassan follows the contradicting and confusing clues to the whereabouts of the lost archive. But, in her usual, inimitable way, she keeps finding people and places in the purest documentary style: finding myths, life stories, life lies – collecting the effects of defeat, loss, and pain. She even brings some humor to the tragedy of the situation with which she identifies and, at the same time, rejects.