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47 min. English.

Araf is an essayistic road movie and diary of a ghostly character, Nayia, who travels between Srebrenica, Sarajevo, and Mostar in Bosnia. She has been in exile since the war and returns for the 22nd memorial of the Srebrenica genocide. The film is guided by her diary notes of the journey, which merge with the myth of Daedalus and Icarus – Icarus being the name given to the winner of a bridge diving competition in her home country. The story of Icarus and Daedalus, a myth symbolic of man’s over-ambition and inevitable failure, is woven throughout the film as a way to think about exorcizing the vicious cycle of such events happening in the future and of a possible reconciliation. Nayia also thinks of Icarus from a different perspective, that of seeing the optimism of such a leap, his braveness in taking a leap into the unknown in this era of radical instability, that perhaps Icarus wanted to write a different narrative. Araf thus traces these paradoxes through Nayia’s displacement and her return to her home country post-war – that of a constant terror and a permanent standstill, and the friction between displacement and permanence.

Didem Pekün was born in 1978 in Istanbul, Turkey. Her work explores both artistic research and practice; conceptually it deals with the production of subjectivities within violent geographies, displacement, and the different forms they take on screen. Her studio practice includes documentaries and video installations, which have screened internationally and received awards. She is a founding member of the Center for Spatial Justice (MAD). Following a BA in music at SOAS University of London and an MA on documentary at Goldsmiths, she holds a practice-based PhD from Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths. She is a faculty member at the Media and Visual Arts Department at Koç University, a Research Fellow at Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths and a Teaching Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, CEU, Budapest.

Production Maria-Thalia Carras, Olga Hatzidaki, Didem Pekün. Production company locus athens (Athens, Greece). Written and directed by Didem Pekün. Director of photography Petros Nousias. Editing Didem Pekün. Music Elena Kakaliagou, Ingrid Schmoliner, Ellen Arkbro. Sound design Fatih Rağbet, Eli Haligua. Sound Theophilos Botonakis. Assistant director Dino Omerović. With Dino Bajrić (Icarus).


2007: The tree that smiles at me (22 min.). 2010: Tülay German; Years of Fire and Cinders (50 min.). 2016: of dice and men (video installation, 43 min.). 2018: Araf.

Photo: © Didem Pekün

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur