Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Arab Film Festival
First of a three-part film series presented by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies in partnership with The Arab Film Festival on the 70th anniversary of Al-Nakba of 1948, one of the Middle East's most defining episodes. Rather than approach it as a singular event in the past, the films in this series (all recently released) illustrate the unfolding nature of Al-Nakba (Arabic for cataclysm or catastrophe) as an epoch of unrelenting erasure of Palestinian lives and histories. They also show how a traumatic event can be generative of infinite passion and creativity. The themes of these non-fiction films are: suturing exilic connections with the denied homeland through the art of embroidery; film-making as a revolutionary and revelatory act in the face of erasure; and a 3rd generation refugees search for love as an antidote to defeat and addiction. The series is curated by Ahmad Diab, Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature in the Department of Near Eastern Studies, who will be on hand for the screening and discussion that follows.
ABOUT THE FILM: "Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory"
Director: Mohanad Yaqubi
Countries: Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, France 2016
Languages: Arabic, English, French, Italian
62 mins - Black/White, Color
In his remarkably assured debut documentary, Ramallah-based Director Mohanad Yaqubi untangles the fraught history of his homeland, long at the center of one of the world's most humanitarian catastrophe of our times. With the precision and grace of the best essay films, Yaqubi uses found footage, much of it newly discovered, to trace his country's quest for self-determination, dignity, and, ultimately, peace. OFF FRAME AKA REVOLUTION UNTIL VICTORY builds off Yaqubi's discovery of film shot by the Palestine Film Unit, a group founded in the 1960s that saw itself as the cinematic front of the Palestinian movement. He connects their work in this tumultuous historic moment with wider trends, bringing his documentary into dialogue with the larger film world. There are parallels with Third Cinema and social realism, and Yaqubi includes footage of Jean-Luc Godard's famous visit to Palestine in the 1970s to make HERE AND ELSEWHERE (also borrowing the original title of Godard's documentary for his own: UNTIL VICTORY). Yaqubi brings the film full circle with contemporary footage shot in Palestine. The result is an alternate and rarely seen history, framed from Yaqubi's distinctly Palestinian perspective. It compels audiences to look beyond easy headlines or stereotypes and to contemplate how the present moment itself has been built out of images of the past. Screened at the 2016 Toronto and Dubai International Film Festivals and Berlinale 2017.