New Asian Currents
  • Samia
  • This is Lebanon
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  • I Wonder . . .
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  • Weabak: Stayed Out All Night

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  • Samia

    - SYRIA / 2008 / Arabic, French / Color / Video / 40 min

    Director, Photography, Editing, Sound, Producer, Source: Ammar Albeik

    A trail of memories connects disparate places, from the film director in Syria and the artist Samia Al Halaby who paints and films Ramallah, to Bisan who wanders aimlessly through Jerusalem. Guided by Samia’s paintings of the olives and the wind of Palestine, gathering the stones and soil of Ramallah that are the “words of the Palestinian people,” the film evokes the space of exiled Palestinians. Their gaze, thoughts, and unspoken words become the light of the film that reflects back on the audience.

    [Director’s Statement] It was spread in some of the Arab media, which naturally reported from some of the foreign media, that the French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard accepted an invitation to join an Israeli student film festival in celebrating the passing of sixty years since the founding of Israel. However, despite all the arguments and different points of view that were stirred up on this matter, most of which were not based on accurate information, the director didn’t accept the invitation.

    In that very same year I received a present from the Palestinian painter and my friend Samia Al Halaby, a stone from an olive grove in the city of Ramallah. This was ten years after I received my first present, a Jerusalem stone, from a Palestinian friend who I used to meet mostly outside of my country, Syria. I have since then collected a wide variety of stones from Palestinian cities in a special album.

    It was that year as well that the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, one of the most important characters in the film by Jean-Luc Godard, Notre musique (Our Music), died on August 9, 2008.

    Darwish ascended to the heavens, heavy with the wounds of his usurped country, Jean-Luc Godard is still making films and lighting our nights, Samia is still painting and dreaming of her family’s house in Jerusalem, and Bisan, the girl from Jerusalem, is still walking in the alleys of ancient Jerusalem, passing by the surrounding hills without knowing her destination. Palestine is all of those, the loyal and the tired. Palestine is my colorful and everlasting painting.

    - Ammar Albeik

    Pigeon breeder and football player, born in Damascus in 1972. Albeik’s films include Light Harvest (1997; mayor’s award at the Liege International Video Festival), They Were Here (2000; special award from the International Federation of Film Societies, Italy), Boulevard Al Assad (2002), My Ear Can See (2002), When I Color My Fish (2002; jury prize at the Brisbane International Film Festival), Clapper (2003), and I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her Grave (codirector, 2006; Doc/it Italian Documentary Association Award at the Venice International Film Festival; YIDFF 2007). His films have been screened at numerous other international film festivals.