Abu Dhabi Film Festival at The Pavilion - Mapping Subjectivity

This month's Abu Dhabi Film Festival's film series at The Pavilion will feature four films from Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema 1960-Now, a program co-curated by The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and ArteEast that traces the largely unknown heritage of personal, artistic and innovative cinema from the Arab world.

In the 1960s, galvanized by a broader global vanguard of countercultural experimentation in the arts, filmmakers in the Arab countries began to craft a language and form that broke away from established conventions and commercial considerations, ultimately clearing the ground for boldly subjective cinematic expression. In the 2010 edition of Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2010, they presented several films from Mapping SubjectivityThe full program was presented at MoMA in New York last year.

Three of the four films in this month's line up are by Elia Suleiman and I wish a selection from the 1970s-1980s were included, to show a wider range of films from Mapping Subjectivity. Al Yazerli, an Iraqi from from 1972 and The Mummy/Night of Counting the Years (Al Moumia')an Egyptian fllm from 1973 are two films from the Mapping Subjectivity program at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Film Festival that really stood out for me, and I'm gutted they're not included in this month's program at The Pavilion.

Here's the full line up. Please spread the word, and if you go, hope you enjoy watching these films. 


Friday, 8th July 8 at 5:30 pm and  7:30 pm

Port of Memory
Directed by Kamal Al Jafari
Arabic | Germany, France, Palestine, UAE | 2010 | 63 mins 

This is a story rarely told, about the emptying of Jaffa, a thriving urban and economic port city in pre-1948 Palestine, of its indigenous residents. Aljafari’s film follows his family after they receive an order to evacuate their home in Ajami, Jaffa’s once-wealthy sea-front neighborhood. Radically poetic, Port of Memory is a reflection on the absurdity of being at once absent and present.

Thursday, 14th July at 7:30 pm  |  Friday, 15th July at 5:30 pm and  7:30 pm
Chronicle of a Disappearance
Directed by Elia Suleiman
Arabic, Hebrew, English, French | Palestine, USA, Germany, France | 1996 | 88 mins

In a series of witty vignettes, some contemplative, others laden with satiric humor and critique, Elia Suleiman expresses his emotions and state of mind as he observes daily life in Palestine. Through scenes of a Palestinian actress struggling to find an apartment in West Jerusalem, the owner of the Holy Land souvenir shop preparing merchandise for incoming Japanese tourists and a group of old women gossiping about their relatives, Suleiman leads us on a meditative search for what it means to be Palestinian.

Thursday, 21st July at 7:30 pm  |  Friday, 22nd July 22 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm
Divine Intervention
Directed by Elia Suleiman
Arabic, Hebrew, English | Palestine, Morocco, Germany, France | 2002 | 92 mins 

Subtitled 'A Chronicle of Love and Pain', the film follows a group of interrelated people as they struggle to maintain the veneer of normal life in Nazareth, the West Bank and Jerusalem. Observing that its characters are trapped in a land that denies them basic human rights, the film defines the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in painfully explicit terms. Subversive humor abounds in a series of expertly executed fantasy sequences and sight gags. In the laughter created from such bleakness, there is a sensation of triumph in the face of adversity.

Thursday, 28th July 28 at 7:30 pm  and Friday, 29th July at 5:30 pm and  7:30 pm

The Time that Remains
Directed by Elia Suleiman
Arabic, Hebrew, English | UK, Italy, Belgium, France | 2009 | 109 mins  

Suleiman returns with an immaculate, comically deadpan examination of life as an Israeli Arab in Nazareth from 1948 to today. Based on his father’s diaries and his own reminiscences, the film tells the story of a young rebel forced into exile who returns to Nazareth as an adult to find more apathy than anger. Suleiman chronicles history with devastating absurdity and wit. 

Event details:
All the films have English subtitles.
Free entry, but seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis (screenings start promptly at the specified time).
Venue: The Pavilion Downtown Dubai, Emaar Boulevard (location map)