Port of Memory

Kamal Aljafari

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Kamal Aljafari, Port of Memory (still), 2010.

Staff picks Port of Memory
Kamal Aljafari

63 Minutes

Staff Picks

September 1-30, 2021

Join us on e-flux Video & Film for an online screening of Kamal Aljafari’s Port of Memory (2010), streaming from Wednesday, September 1 through Thursday, September 30, 2021. The film is presented as part of the monthly series Staff picks.

Once a thriving Palestinian port city, Jaffa has now become an extension of Tel Aviv. It often served as the backdrop for action films set in the Middle East, featuring the likes of Chuck Norris. Aljafari offers a subtle portrait and memoir of a disappearing city that has been changed forever by incessant construction, gentrification, and dispossession of its inhabitants. It quietly traces the streets of Jaffa and follows the rhythms of life of the city and its people, centered around mundane rituals and occurrences that instil a sense of normalcy. We find a cat napping lazily on the TV, an elderly parent being taken care of, a family watching TV, and hands being washed repetitively. Against this seemingly still décor, the filmmaker’s family are at risk of eviction if they cannot prove their ownership of their house.

… this is a work that can only be seen, not talked about; all that can be said is that it brings cinema to a place beyond the question of fiction, documentary and video art. Not only that; it does so as if no camera were there, or there were a camera without a man – the invisibility here is of film itself. (Sight & Sound magazine, London)

For more information, contact program [​at​] e-flux.com.

Memory, Palestine, Gentrification, Dispossession, Documentary
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Kamal Aljafari works with moving and still images, interweaving fiction, non-fiction, and contemporary art. His debut feature The Roof (2006) was followed by Port of Memory (2009), which was awarded the Prix Louis-Marcorelles at Cinéma du Réel. In 2015 he directed Recollection, in which actors are removed from the foreground of films shot in Jaffa in order to narrate a vanished city. It premiered in Locarno and was followed by An Unusual Summer (2020), which was created from surveillance camera material recorded by his father, and premiered in Visions du Réel. Aljafari was a featured artist at the 2009 Robert Flaherty Film Seminar in New York. He has also taught at The New School in New York, and at the DFFB in Berlin. His work has been shown worldwide in film festivals such as the Berlinale, Viennale, Images, and Rotterdam, and in museums such as the MoMA, New York and Tate Modern, London.


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