Ala Younis: Everything is Alright, Officer (2011)

(1) LE MONDE SOUS LA TABLE 2010 (2) 2026 2010 (3) CHILDREN OF FIRE 2009 (4) MERELY A SMELL 2007 (5) PAPER DRESS 2009 (6) SANS TITRE 2010 (7) AL WADI 2011 (8) WITH SOUL WITH BLOOD 2006

Mohssin Harraki, Morocco/France 2010, Eng. subtitles, 8 min

In LE MONDE SOUS LA TABLE an invisible hand draws a map of the world on a white surface. Under the table, a magnet traces the contours of the map, while causing the movement of another magnet, fixed to the pen on top of the table. The magnet on the table follows the same route as that at the bottom, yet gives a new proposal of the world map on top of the table.

Mohssin Harraki, born in 1981, is a multidisciplinary artist whose work explores cultural constructions, consequences of post colonialism and collective imaginations. Graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Dijon, Harraki pays particular attention to foreign cultural landmarks and social practices, and produced his first video works in the form of interviews with artist colleagues debating political everyday issues that have no direct association to art practice. He lives in Dijon and Tangier.

Maha Maamoun, Egypt 2010,
Eng. subtitles, 10 min
Based on a text from a recent Egyptian novel entitled ‘The Revolution of 2053’, by Mahmoud Uthman, and referencing a scene from Chris Marker’s LA JETÉE (1962), a time-traveller recounts his vision of the future of the Pyramids area, and by extension Egypt, in the year 2026 – a vision that strains to reach beyond, yet remains severely confined by the present’s imaginative constraints.

Maha Maamoun, born 1972, works mainly through the mediums of photography and video, often starting from generic visual representations of Cairo to explore how these intersect with and are negotiated by personal experiences. Maamoun‘s work has been shown in biennials and exhibitions including amongst others at the MoMA, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 9th Sharjah Biennial, Tate Modern. She lives and works in Cairo as a filmmaker and curator.

Mohammed Al Hawajiri, Palestine 2009, OV, 3 min

Since childhood, night has been associated with sleep and the time when life is asleep. The darkness reminds us of myths and mysterious stories that frighten young people. But in Gaza’s dark night, the children go out to burn the fear. They have fun with their own primitive games to overcome the difficulties of their lives, they are the children of fire who overcome the darkness.

Mohammed Hawajiri, born in 1975, studied drawing and painting at the YMCA in Gaza. In addition to local personal exhibits, Hawajri has shown his work internationally, and is one of the founders of the Fine Art programme in the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in the Gaza strip as well as the Eltiqa Group for Contemporary Art. Hawajri works in a wide and fluctuating range of media – paintings, sculpture, video art, photography –, his choice frequently determined by such everyday matters as which materials happen to be available at a given time in the restrictive conditions in which Gazans live.

Maher Abi Samra, Lebanon 2007,
Eng. OV, subtitles, 10 min
Summer 2006, Israeli war on Lebanon. A boat docks in a besieged Beirut to evacuate foreign nationals. From under the rubble of destroyed buildings, relief workers pull the bodies of the dead. Moving between light and darkness, life and its extinction, bodies redraw the boundaries of other bodies, the smell of death cloaking all.

Maher Abi Samra, born in 1965, studied drama arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut and audio-visual studies at the Institut National de l’Image et du Son in Paris, and has worked as a photo-journalist for Lebanese dailies and international agencies. MERELY A SMELL was awarded best short documentary at DOK Leipzig 2007 and at Brazil‘s It‘s All True International Documentary Film Festival in 2008. He lives in Beirut.

Kasem Kharsa, Jordan/Egypt 2009,
Eng. subtitles, 7 min
Surrounded by darkness, a young Iranian woman recounts a painful moment in her life. Her childhood memories prompt the use of Persian miniature cut-outs, images reminiscent of a fairy tale or a children’s book, to tell this story. The juxtaposition between the imaginary and real gives life to the paper world and characters, generating a complex web of nostalgia, tragedy and hope.

Kasem Kharsa, born in 1977, is an Egyptian-American design engineer, filmmaker, writer, and visual artist. Kharsa spent his childhood in the United States and the Middle East, and is an alumnus of the Rawi Screenwriters Lab, Sundance Directors/Writers Labs and Binger Filmlabs. He is currently in pre-production for his feature debut SHELTER. He lives in Beirut.
Neil Beloufa, Algeria/France 2010,
Eng. subtitles, 15 min
A cardboard decor and photographs reconstitute a luxury Californian-type villa in Algeria. Its inhabitants, neighbours and other protagonists imagine themselves there to explain why and how the latter was occupied by terrorists in order to hide although it is, paradoxically, made entirely of glass. They even polished it clean so as to leave no traces. This improbable and irresolvable anecdote encourages the characters to invent images of an event given media coverage without the images nor the story and thus missing the main point.

Neil Beloufa, born in 1985, studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and is currently a member of the 2010 promotion of Le Fresnoy – National Studio for Contemporary Arts. He received several awards. His work was shown in four solo exhibitions. His films were screened in international festivals for video and documentary. He lives in Paris.

Firas Taybeh, Jordan 2011,
Eng. subtitles, 13 min
AL WADI is a comedy that takes place in the future where things go back to a primitive set in a desert where there has been a river that has gone dry. Two characters inhabit the valley: a digger and a valley crosser whose work is to make people pass to the other side of the valley. A conspiracy creates a conflict between the two men and they leave the valley. Inspired by folk stories from the Middle East, this experimental work in progress is a study for a feature-length version.

Firas Taybeh was born in Libya in 1983, studied directing and cinematography at The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts in Aqaba, and has started his artistic career studying sculpting before turning to filmmaking in 2007. Taybeh has worked as an independent producer, director of photography, actor and art director in many Jordanian productions, and he is one of the creators of Aramram, Jordan’s first web TV. He lives in Amman.

Rabih Mroué, Lebanon 2006,
Eng. subtitles, 4 min
In WITH SOUL, WITH BLOOD Rabih Mroué scans a grainy newspaper photograph of a massive crowd at a political protest in a futile effort to find any trace of his own presence at the event.

Rabih Mroué, born in 1967, is an actor, director, playwright, visual artist, and a contributing editor for The Drama Review (TDR). His complex and diverse practice, spanning different disciplines and formats in between theatre, performance, and visual arts, has established Mroué as a key figure in a new generation of artistic voices in Lebanon. Employing both fiction and in-depth analysis as tools for engaging with his immediate reality, Mroué explores the responsibilities of the artist in communicating with an audience in given political and cultural contexts. He lives in Beirut.