Which untold stories lie under the vastness of the desert? And which untold secrets remain hidden under a common roof? How does your life shape up when you decide to leave a place you called home move to a foreign territory? And how does it feel to go back in time to tell a love story, in an era in which analog tapes were still the real thing?
Responding to this year’s overarching festival theme, this programme of Arab short films offer a reflection on spaces and time.
Curator Rabih El-Khoury will be joined by VHS Tape Replaced director Maha Al-Salti for a post-screening discussion.
Les Chenilles, Noel and Michelle Keserwany
France, Lebanon | 2023 | 29 mins | Arabic, French
Asma and Sarah meet while working as waitresses in France. They both come from the Levant and are carrying the shadows of the past with them, each in their own way. They tentatively befriend each other and find a common ground that goes back to the time when the city of Lyon was connected to their homeland via the Silk Road. A film about exploitation – then and now – and about female solidarity, friendship and solace.
Galb’echaouf, Abdessamad El Montassir
Western Sahara, Morocco | 2021 | 19 mins | Hassanya
How does one tell a story of displacement? The people present in Galb’Echaouf seem unable to talk about the trauma of the past. Perhaps, because there is nothing left that could possibly be said. Instead, Abdessamad El Montassir looks to the landscape for testimony, a landscape which has borne witness. The natural environment becomes a witness to warfare, holding knowledge that is too painful to be remembered by the land’s human inhabitants.
Life on the Horn, Mo Harawe
Austria, Somalia, Germany | 2020 | 25 mins | Somali
For over a decade, toxic waste has been dumped illegally on the coastline of Somalia. The earthquake and tsunami in 2004 damaged the toxic containers and spilled waste, which caused the spread of diseases. Many people left their villages but some stayed and lived with the consequences.
VHS Tape Replaced, Maha Al-Saati
Saudi Arabia | 2022 | 17 mins | Arabic | UK Premiere
Set in 1987, a young black Saudi man attempts to impress his crush by mimicking an iconic singer. But after recording the video tape, it finds its way into the wrong hands. This film explores racial identity in a time of analogue media.
My Girl Friend (Sahbety), Kawthar Younis
Egypt | 2022 | 17 mins | Arabic | UK Premiere
Desperate for intimacy, Ali follows his girlfriend’s suggestion that puts their relationship to the test. The plan unfolds unexpectedly when gender roles become blurred.
This screening is presented in partnership with Generation 2030.