Revolution and Civil War (Here)

Revolution and Civil War (Here)


Clip from Khadijeh Habashneh, Children Without Childhood, 1972.

December 8, 2021
Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere II: Revolution and Civil War (Here)
Now streaming
Online: December 8–21
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e-flux Video & Film is very pleased to present Revolution and Civil War (Here), the second group screening of the online film program Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere, curated by Irmgard Emmelhainz.

The films in this second chapter give us glimpses of how Arab-world countries after 1967 participated in struggles for a better future and for a less unequal international world system, be it in the form of Pan-Arab nationalism, socialist revolutions, or anti-occupation struggles. These struggles were opposed to and attacked by Western powers, and eventually thwarted by the defeat of Palestinians in Jordan, civil war in Lebanon, among other ramifications. The struggles differed from country to country, but here, unlike elsewhere in the world, women fought on several fronts: in the bedroom, in the office, under civil war, against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, through filmmaking.

With films by Selma BaccarKhadijeh Habashneh, and Jocelyne Saab, streaming December 8–21, 2021 on e-flux Video & FIlm.

Watch them here.

Selma Baccar, Fatma 75, 1976, 61 minutes 
University student Fatma goes on a historical, feminist voyage and gathers interviews with iconic women from history. Fatma speaks to aristocratic women from the ancient past and contemporary revolutionaries involved in the struggle for Tunisian independence. Particular focus lies on developments from the 1930s to the 1950s, when Tunisian women were increasingly struggling for emancipation and the controversial Personal Status Law was passed, which aimed at the institutionalized equality of women and men. The innovative style of docu-fiction allows director Selma Baccar to present a fictional narrative element interspersed with actual interview footage, re-enactments of historical circumstances, and archival material. Didactic and instructive in its tone, the film has gained mythical status, certainly aided by its rarity and previous unavailability for screenings due to censorship.

Khadijeh Habashneh, Children Without Childhood, 1979-1980, 21 minutes 
Produced by the Palestinian Cinema Institute and the General Union of Palestinian Women, the film revolves around the life of the orphans of Tall Azaatar Martyrs, in Bait El-Somoud, the house which was established for them by the GUPW. Through the lives of these children, the film shows the sufferings that Palestinian children endure in diaspora camps and under the Israeli occupation. The film focuses on the contradiction between the International Declaration of Child Rights and the reality of the living conditions of Palestinian children.

Jocelyne Saab, Children of War, 1976, 10 minutes
Days after the massacre of Quarantina in a predominantly Muslim shanty town in Beirut, Jocelyne Saab found and met children who had escaped, and who were deeply traumatized by the horrific fighting they’d seen with their own eyes. Jocelyne gave the children crayons and encouraged them to draw while her camera turned. She made a bitter discovery: The only games the children engaged in were war games, and the war would quickly become a way of life for them as well.

About the program
This constellation of post-1967 films gathers a cultural memory of ongoing political conflicts rooted in the colonial past of a geographic area misnamed by relatively arbitrary boundary markers: the “Arab world,” “Orient,” or “Middle East.” 

One of the traits of modernity is the experience of conflict elsewhere through visual interfaces. This is the result of the belief in the moral imperative to document, give testimony to, and disseminate images in order to stop atrocities happening far away, all while genocide, dispossession, and mass displacement are justified as collateral damage in the imperial wars seeking to expand neoliberal capitalism. To disentangle the complicated matrix of violence operating in the Middle East, the image has functioned as a pharmakon. Indeed, the birth of photography coincided with the expansion of early European imperialism in the Arab world, and some of the medium’s earliest outputs are Orientalist images taken by Europeans in places like Cairo and Jerusalem. Images have long shaped the external imagination of the region. One of the challenges cultural producers in the area face is to counter the image as an intervention in the field of vision that perpetuates imperial narratives, including that of the myth of journalistic objectivity. 

Memories for Forgetfulness Elsewhere: Moving Images from the Middle East/Arab World After Empires is an online film program curated by Irmgard Emmelhainz for e-flux Video & Film, taking place from November 24, 2021 through February 16, 2022. The program streams in five thematic group screenings, each two weeks long; and will accompanied by two live discussions (discussion dates and speakers to be announced).

With films by Nora Adwan, Reem Ali, Basma Alsharif, Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, Selma Baccar, b.h. Yael, Fouad Elkoury, Harun Farocki, Shadi Habib Allah, Khadijeh Habashneh, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Helene Kazan, Hassan Khan, Dalia Al Kury, Wael Noureddine, The Otolith Group, Jocelyne Saab, Urok Shirhan, Mohanad Yaqubi, Akram Zaatari.

Read the full text and watch the films here.

For more information, contact

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December 8, 2021

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