I’m missing a shameful amount of openings, events, and screenings these days. I fear that I’ll miss this one, too (thesis committee defense: T-minus 7 days), but my friend Ben is putting it on and so I post it here in hopes that someone will take my place.
The Graduate Film Working Group
at the University of California, Berkeley
Pasolini Pa* Palestine
Ayreen Anastas, 2005
digital video in Arabic with English subtitles, 51 min
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Nestrick Room, 142 Dwinelle Hall, UCB
followed by a discussion with:
Associate Professor of Italian Studies, UCB
Visiting Professor of History
Professor of Sociology, Birzeit University
Director, Institute of Jerusalem Studies
About the project:
In 1963 Pier Paolo Pasolini, poet and filmmaker, ex-catholic and communist, went looking for signs of the divine in the villages, churches, and deserts of Palestine. He was at the same time searching the faces of its inhabitants for traces of the rustic piety that produced the Christian revolution, all the while recording his travels in a documentary of locations and scenarios for his planned film on the life of Jesus. Having found too few places untouched by the violence of modernity, Pasolini instead shot his Gospel According to Matthew in southern Italy.
In a stuttering embrace of the holy fatherland and father Pasolini himself, Pasolini Pa* Palestine remakes Pasolini’s documentary, translating his script into Arabic and taking his film survey as a map for exploring contemporary Palestine. Reactivating Pasolini’s pursuit of the ‘archaic’ and the ‘sub-proletarian’ in a landscape cluttered with the markers of modern war and occupation, the video weaves together myth and document, the theological and the political, the messianic and the everyday.
At once an exploration of artistic repetition and reenactment, and the scenario of production that lies at the margins of epic
narrative, Pasolini Pa* Palestine is also a discerning investigation into the past as a motivating political force, revolutionary and otherwise, in the wreckage of the modern.
About the Artist
Ayreen Anastas writes in fragments and makes films and videos. Pasolini Pa* Palestine (2005), m* of Bethlehem (2003), and the Library of Useful Knowledge (2002) have been shown internationally in festivals, museums and cinemas but not yet broadcast on television. She often collaborates with Rene Gabri and most recently they were commissioned by Art in General to produce the work Camp Campaign. She is one of the organizers of the 16 Beaver Group. Her New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary was published in Rethinking Marxism (16:3, July 2004). She has no affection for the proclamation of victory. Troubled by any image of herself, she suffers when she is named.
Pasolini Pa* Palestine was created in conjunction with a residency at Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem.