Movement of thought

November 13, 2011

A shocking connection: film-maker uncovers Blood in the Mobile

Filed under: Cinema — movementofthought @ 10:15 am

[Frank Poulsen’s eye-opening new documentary exposes a link between the war in DR Congo and our mobile phones. This article was first published on http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2011/oct/10/blood-in-the-mobile-congo%5D

We all love our mobile phones, and the smarter they get, the more we want them. There is, though, a dark side to this affair. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, our demand for phones has been helping to finance a civil war which has killed more than 5m people. There is, according to the title of Danish director Frank Poulsen’s eye-opening documentary, blood in the mobile. Minerals from mines under the control of warring factions have been making their way into our mobiles for years. The UN raised the issue a decade ago. But even though it involves more of us than, say, blood diamonds, how many of us know about it?
I knew there was a war in Congo, but I didn’t know it had anything to do with my phone,” says Poulsen. “I think we often forget, or maybe don’t know, how closely connected we are. Things that go on in Africa seem to be very far away and have very little to do with us, but it has a lot to do with us. My mission, as a film-maker, is to make these connections.”
Poulsen arranged a research trip to Congo and successfully secured entry to the Bisie mine, located deep in the jungles of Walikale, where thousands of people, many of them children, were living and working in hellish conditions. “I have never seen anything like this,” says Poulsen. “This was really terrible.” Guards on a makeshift gate levied “taxes” on people going in and coming out. “And that’s how simple it is,” he says. “These armed groups are really stealing money from the poorest and most miserable people in the world.”
Inside the gate, conditions are “medieval”. “There’s no clean water anywhere. There’s thousands of people, and you think: ‘How do they survive here? How can they do this? How is it possible?'” Children as young as 12 work as deep as 100 metres below ground, and Poulsen tried seeing for himself what conditions were like inside the mine, but he didn’t get far. “I was simply too big and I had a camera that made it hard for me to get an everyday life atmosphere. People would just sit and look at me.”
The second – and final – time he visited Bisie, he gave a small camera to a young boy. The haunting images he captured, of men and children chiselling at rocks, grimly hark back to an age that seemed long gone, when Leopold II of Belgium ran the Congo as a private slave colony.
In an attempt to connect the dots between the mine and the phone industry, Poulson approached Nokia – as well-known advocates of corporate social responsibility, he thought they would be keen to show him what they were doing to improve the situation. They told him by email that they didn’t have the “resources” to help him. He says he rang them once a week for almost a year, trying to arrange an interview with someone in power, but found himself fobbed off at every turn. When he did eventually get access, it was to mid-level people whose apparently sincere desire to do the right thing was not matched by their ability to make actual changes.
“Nokia had the chance of being the hero of this film, if they had opened up to me. It is a mystery why they didn’t. But it also shows why this issue isn’t being solved: people are turning a blind eye.”
Blood in the Mobile arrives in the UK at a time when recent legislation passed by Congress in the US requiring more transparency in the extractive industry seems to already be making an impact in Africa, even before its implementation. Similar legislation is now being sought at an EU level. “We can’t leave it up to the companies themselves to solve,” says Poulsen, “because they have had a fair chance at it.”
The casualties of war in the DR Congo have been, he says, like a “Haiti earthquake every third month for the last 15 years. This is an extraordinary problem, a catastrophe that we have to address right now.
There are too many people dying.”

• Blood in the Mobile is released on 21 October
Production year: 2010
Runtime: 82 mins
Directors: Frank Piasecki Poulsen

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September 15, 2009

Revolting women: the role of gender in Sergei Eisenstein’s Que Viva Mexico! and U.S. Depression-era Left film criticism

Filed under: Cinema — movementofthought @ 5:48 pm

by Chris Robé

[This article was originally published on http://www.ejumpcut.org ]

Ian Christie aptly notes in his 1993 introduction for Eisenstein Rediscovered,

“Although Eisenstein was never able to edit his cherished Mexican footage, surprisingly little [scholarly] attention has been paid to what can be discerned from the mass of surviving film material.”[1] [Open notes in new window]

Twelve years have passed since Christie’s observation, yet relatively little scholarly work has been advanced on the study of Eisenstein’s Mexican footage. With the exception of Marie Seton, Thomas Waugh, and Harry M. Benshoff, film scholars have largely regarded Que Viva Mexico! as an interesting experiment but resistant to thorough close-analysis due to its fragmentary and incomplete nature.[2] Although one does not want to underestimate the difficulty in theorizing about such a tentative film project, a careful analysis of Eisenstein’s script, working notes, outlines, and the reconstructions of the film by his student Jay Leyda in the 1950s and his assistant Grigory Alexandrov in the 1970s suggest that Que Viva Mexico! might have become one of Eisenstein’s most sophisticated works to investigate gender’s relation to radical political transformation. More than any other of his films (with the exception perhaps being Old and New, 1929), Eisenstein’s Mexican footage interrogates the ways in which montage could be used to show how political revolution was directly dependent upon a radical transformation of gender roles.

Eisenstein’s notion of “overtonal” montage serves as a useful conceptual tool in analyzing the Mexican footage since it draws attention to the importance of evaluating the dominant and residual montage elements operating both within each shot as well as those operating between them.[3] As Vladimir Nizhny, Jacques Aumont, and David Bordwell suggest, mise-en-scène and mise-en-shot (montage-within-the-shot) become central in Eisenstein’s teaching. This is indicated by his lesson in filming one scene from Crime and Punishment without any cuts, done after his experience filming Que Viva Mexico!, which suggests that these elements were also important when he was working on this film.[4] The incomplete Mexican footage provides ample evidence of mise-en-shot. When analyzed in conjunction with Eisenstein’s and his contemporaries’ writings on the film, that footage allows one to make some inferences about the overall montage structure that his film might have taken if Eisenstein had completed filming and edited the film.

Yet in addition to the footage’s thematic importance within Eisenstein’s oeuvre and Soviet silent cinema, Que Viva Mexico! holds historical importance for 1930s U.S. Left film criticism. The failure of Eisenstein to complete Que Viva Mexico! invoked one of the most intense debates within domestic and international Left film journals and columns.[5] In particular, U.S. Left film critics were finally forced to recognize the impossibility of mass-distributing radical films within the United States. They had to re-evaluate how more mainstream cinematic techniques must be used within their politically progressive films if they ever wanted them to reach mass audiences.

Since I have recounted this history elsewhere, I would like to focus here on how an analysis of gender’s thematic function within Eisenstein’s Mexican footage helps elucidate the ways in which 1930s U.S. Left film critics tended to marginalize gender issues within their own columns on Eisenstein’s film (and its Hollywood release version, Thunder Over Mexico, assembled from outtakes taken by Edward Tisse and Eisenstein, and edited by Hollywood producer Sol Lesser).[6] In accord with such feminist scholars as Deborah Rosenfelt, Paula Rabinowitz, and Nan Enstad, who examine the problematic relations held by the historic, U.S. male Left towards gender politics and women’s liberation, my essay exposes how most 1930s, male, U.S. Left film critics used gender, at best, as a metaphor in their columns to help explain Hollywood’s monopolistic control of mass-distribution within the United States and the subsequent censorship of Eisenstein’s film.[7]

Rarely do they note the central importance that gender had in structuring Que Viva Mexico! This occurred despite all of them having access to Eisenstein’s written film scenario and some of them gaining privileged access to interview Eisenstein both on and off location and to view his outtakes. Although one can rightfully claim that limited viewing access and the film’s incomplete nature limited some U.S. Left film critics’ ability to identify gender as a central theme, I argue that their marginalization of gender arose from two more pervasive sources: 1) There was a political strategy that primarily viewed the championing of female desire and agency as nothing more than a consumption-based rhetoric that jeopardized class solidarity and collective action. 2) There was a male fear at how the Depression’s economic instability and 1930s consumerist discourses challenged their own “masculine” identities and privilege. This essay’s purpose, however, is not to discredit 1930s U.S. Left film critics but instead to identify some of the complex and divergent attitudes held by the cultural Left towards the imbrication of gender and politics.

Eisenstein and 30s U.S. Left film theory

Before engaging in a close analysis of Que Viva Mexico! and critics’ response to it, I first want to briefly address the context that made Eisenstein a significant figure for 1930s U.S. Left film theory. Eisenstein held significant prominence for U.S. Left film critics in the early 1930s. Not only had much of his theoretical work appeared in international film journals like Close Up and Experimental Cinema that U.S. Left film critics read, but during the summer of 1930 Eisenstein came to the United States to work for Paramount studios. While working within the bastion of capitalist cinema, Eisenstein wrote a scenario for a filmic adaptation of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, which the studio rejected as too political. But despite An American Tragedy’s consignment to only a written scenario, Left film critics circulated information about it in their columns, seeing it as a model of what a radical director could potentially achieve within Hollywood had he/she only been given the freedom by producers to pursue his/her plans.[8] Eisenstein, in other words, represented for U.S. Left film critics the most sophisticated theoretical stance taken by a Left director with regards to filmmaking and studying film. Critics appreciated his desire to explore the radical potential held within modernist aesthetics like montage and internal monologue, willingness to explore how radical film might be employed within a studio system, and ability to explore cinema’s links with other artistic mediums like writing, theater, and painting.

Yet it was Eisenstein’s next venture—Que Viva Mexico!—that U.S. Left film critics and writers held with great expectations. Despite the failure of An American Tragedy, Left film critics felt that Eisenstein would be able to utilize some of the new techniques he learned within Hollywood in Que Viva Mexico!’s structure, since its independent funding supposedly freed it from studio control. In a February 1931 issue of Experimental Cinema, Seymour Stern writes, “The picture that Eisenstein brings with him from Mexico will no doubt make history enough for our Hollywood-ridden hemisphere,” since the completed film would expose the genius that Hollywood denied.[9] Similarly, Adolfo Best-Maugard, the Mexican censor who helped Eisenstein location scout, states in Theatre Arts Monthly in 1932,

“Modern cinema is Viva Mexico!, a new achievement of a new technique, a more amazing technique than that of Potemkin, perhaps most adequately described, I should say, as ‘symphonic cinema.’”[10]

And after viewing the film’s raw footage, Edmund Wilson claimed “that Eisenstein is indeed in the process of creating the, to date, supreme masterpiece of the moving pictures.”[11] Because Que Viva Mexico! was held in such high esteem by such critics and writers, its subsequent failure to be completed created unanimous outrage among domestic and international Left film communities.

Ultimately, multiple factors prevented Eisenstein from completing the film: his political and aesthetic disagreements over the film’s composition with the film’s main backer, Upton Sinclair; his unfamiliarity with Mexico as a whole; the difficulty of gaining mass-distribution for the film; and Stalin’s belief that Eisenstein’s extended stay in Mexico signaled Eisenstein’s desire to desert the Soviet Union.[12] Eisenstein had only shot five out of the six episodes of Que Viva Mexico!, all of which he eventually shipped to Upton Sinclair. Despite Eisenstein’s subsequent pleas to gain access to the footage in order to edit it, Sinclair refused, believing that Eisenstein might try to smuggle this footage abroad, never to be seen again. Instead, Sinclair hired Hollywood producer Sol Lesser to take Eisenstein’s raw footage and condense it down to an hour and a half, resulting in the commercial film known as Thunder Over Mexico.

Thunder Over Mexico

Before the widespread release of Thunder Over Mexico in September 1933, Left film critics created one of the most organized campaigns against it and for Que Viva Mexico! Two main issues were at stake: 1) Que Viva Mexico! represented the potential to mass-distribute a radical film in the United States for the first time ever and thus to challenge the hegemonic hold Hollywood had upon theaters and audiences; and 2) Que Viva Mexico!’s illustrated montage’s superiority to the Hollywood cutting found in Thunder Over Mexico. In regards to the first issue, Left film critics believed that the prominence of Upton Sinclair as producer and Sergei Eisenstein as director would encourage Hollywood to distribute and exhibit Que Viva Mexico! since their fame would guarantee box-office draw no matter how experimental or political the film was in nature. As a result, Hollywood’s rejection of the film would force Left film critics to realize that mass-distribution of a radical film in the United States was impossible. In order to forestall such a conclusion, U.S. Left film critics spent column after column trying to create large-scale public protest against Thunder Over Mexico.

The second issue was a culmination of debates that began in 1927 in English language film journals about the importance of montage to cinema. Montage served as a central concept in structuring the debates of emerging Left film theory during the late 1920s for two main reasons: 1) It was a pliable enough term so that Left film critics could use it to pursue ideological analysis of a wide variety of films: Soviet, Hollywood, avant-garde, and independent. And 2) its emphasis on the inextricable links between film form and content not only provided a sophisticated method in analyzing the overall structure of specific films, but also in exploring cinema’s ability to offer spectators a more coherent vision of modernity’s fragmenting socio-economic processes and to explore how spectators could alter such processes in more humane and egalitarian directions.[13] Regardless of the different ways in which the concept of montage was employed by Left film critics, it revealed the interpenetration of aesthetics and politics. For example, Victor Turin highlights the importance of material factors in establishing the advent of Soviet montage cinema:

“Not a single art-work that has its origin in the Soviet Union today is the metaphysical brainchild of an artist; but all artworks are based on material of actual occurrence, which forms the best foundation for any kind of creative work.”[14]

Similarly, two years later, B.G. Bravermann addresses montage’s importance in all directors’ works:

“A film director is an artist in a complete sense when he employs his tools to present a dialectic treatment of nature and man … he seeks to develop new aspects of cinematic design in time and linear patterns, and image relationships, with which to intensify artistically the deeply realistic content of his thematic material; he seeks new forms and methods not for their formal values alone but for their integration with an understanding of social phenomena…”[15]

Such comments reinforce Tom Brandon’s own observations about the 1930s U.S. Left film movement, which he was a part of:

“Form and content were inseparable. For all their concern with technique and the need to innovate, to improve, to bring film nearer to the idea of the medium of our time ought to be, they never lost sight of the place of film in society, its role as a force for reform and revolution—film was to be a weapon in changing the world.”[16]

But the centrality of montage within their film columns did not simply translate into U.S. Left film critics solely praising Soviet films and rejecting Hollywood ones. Harry Alan Potamkin, by far one of the most sophisticated Marxist critics during the early 1930s, writes in 1929,

“So long as montage is understood as an inclusive creative (constructing) unity, it is the valid vantage point of film aesthetics, but the moment it shifts to the mere job of cutting or, as it frequently appears in the work and utterances of the Russians, a device for effecting the spectator, without regard to the level of the theme, it is contradictory of unity.”[17]

He continues,

“The entire mind of internationalism, whether it is the large scale of the American commercial viewpoint or the propagandistic reduction of the Russians, thwarts this penetration of the intrinsic theme, and its re-making into the form of the film.”[18]

By 1933, however, with the imminent release of Thunder Over Mexico, Left film critics’ discussion of montage became decidedly more polemical in its defense of Eisenstein’s Mexican footage against Sol Lesser’s Hollywood version of the film. Time and again, U.S. Left film critics establish the critical difference between Hollywood cutting and Soviet montage so that readers might see how Thunder’s very construction is at odds with Eisenstein’s intentions. Seymour Stern elaborates upon the differences found between the two types of editing within his article, “Hollywood and Montage.” The main problem with Hollywood cutting, for Stern, was that it was both too spectacular in its use of mise-en-scène and too realistic in its narrative construction. Individual shots must emphasize scenic backgrounds and/or the actor’s beauty while Hollywood continuity dictates that the narrative be simplified so that viewers could easily follow its trajectory.[19]

Montage, on the other hand, for Stern, serves a diametrically opposite approach: to integrate all its visual elements within the film’s overall theme(s), and to create a narrative structured around the filmed material and the director’s intentions, not based upon the viewer-friendly constraints of Hollywood “realism.” Film content and style must be interconnected to maintain the integrity of the film.[20] Montage, as a result, challenges audience members’ perceptions and thoughts not only by presenting radical content, but by presenting it in a new way that challenges “realism’s” limited ability to understand the socio-economic processes that structure our daily lives.

Stern illustrates the two different approaches to film construction by showing how Hollywood defines “excess footage” as any shot that is not related directly to character or the film’s narrative action.[21] But footage that is “excess” to Hollywood is necessary for Soviet montage since it is needed to create subtle associational links that build up the film’s complex dynamic that challenges spectators’ naturalistic way of viewing the world.

Stern’s comments about “excess footage” are particularly germane in grasping U.S. Left film critics’ problems with Thunder Over Mexico. Eisenstein originally intended Que Viva Mexico! to be comprised of six episodes, each chronicling a different epoch of Mexican history. He described the structure of the film to be like that of a Mexican serape:

“So striped and violently contrasting are the cultures in Mexico running next to each other and at the same time being centuries away. No plot, no whole story could run through this Serape without being false or artificial. And we took the contrasting independent adjacence of its violent colors as the motif for constructing our film: 6 episodes following each other—different in character, different in people, different in animals, trees and flowers. And still held together by the unity of the weave—a rhythmic and musical construction and an unrolling of the Mexican spirit and character.”[22]

But the film’s very lack of a singular plot or story, which Eisenstein saw as a cinematic breakthrough, prevented Hollywood executives from picking the film up for mass-distribution. Upton Sinclair explained the Hollywood point-of-view to Eisenstein in a letter:

“He [a man at MGM] then wanted to know the ‘story’ and pinned me down about it. He explained that a ‘story’ means one set of characters running all the way through the picture. If you haven’t that, then you have a travelogue, and there is nothing in between, from the trade point of view. I tried to explain your idea of a group of stories, and when I got through explaining, the man was absolutely cold … You are making the kind of picture that Hollywood does not want.”[23]

Without a singular story running throughout the film, Hollywood viewed the entire project as nothing more than “excess footage,” a “travelogue,” to use their euphemism, all of which Stern warned about in his column. As a result, when Sol Lesser became charged with transforming Eisenstein’s Mexican footage into a Hollywood film, he centered the story on Que Viva Mexico!’s most dramatic episode, “Maguey.” That episode shows the execution of Sebastian, a peon, and his friends who revolt against a hacendado after Sebastian’s wife, Maria, is raped by one of the hacendado’s men. As Marie Seton explains,

“Edited according to established Hollywood methods, the Maguey story, originally intended by Eisenstein to occupy but two reels in the total film, was spun out to six reels—seven including the Prologue and Epilogue.”[24]

U.S. Left film critics were well aware that “Maguey” was only one of six episodes of the film since the journal Experimental Cinema, as well as other Left film journals and columns, had been chronicling the developments of Eisenstein’s film since its inception in 1931 and published Eisenstein’s written scenario (among other pieces on the film) in February 1934.[25] As a result, Sol Lesser’s Thunder Over Mexico seemed nothing less than a “hack job” of Eisenstein’s original Mexican footage. In a manifesto in defense of Que Viva Mexico!, the editors of Experimental Cinema clearly laid out their problems with Thunder Over Mexico:

“Thus, Eisenstein’s great vision of the Mexican ethos, which he had intended to present in the form of a ‘film symphony,’ has been destroyed. Of the original conception, as revealed in the scenario and in Eisenstein’s correspondence with the editors of Experimental Cinema, nothing remains in the commercialized version except the photography, which no amount of mediocre cutting could destroy.”[26]

By eliminating three of the six episodes and not allowing Eisenstein to edit the film, Thunder Over Mexico, according to U.S. Left film critics, lost all thematic unity and development

September 11, 2009

Tora Bora cinema

Filed under: Cinema — movementofthought @ 6:12 pm

by Sobhi al-Zobaidi

[ This article was originally published on http://www.ejumpcut.org.  -Editor ]

In Palestine, a new and independent cinema is emerging, and by independent I mean from the authorities of state, religion and commerce. Independent filmmaking in Palestine is better understood as individual filmmaking because of the absence of the institutional base such as foundations, film collectives, film schools, groups, and most important censorship. In fact Palestinian filmmakers act competitively, most often incompatible with each other. Very rarely do they work with each other. An increasing number of filmmakers compete for the same resources. With no institutional bases whatsoever, the whole thing is left to individual improvisation. And maybe that’s a good thing, because if institutionalized, who knows what it would be like?

The Palestinian cinema developing now is one driven by artistic impulses to resist, travel, and otherwise negotiate the world — a body of work shaped only by the filmmaker and his or her circumstances. Impulsive, passionate films, bad quality films, homemade, homegrown, and desperate, but in their own way they reflect a great deal about the inhuman condition that Palestinians live in.

Ultimately we can sum up the Palestinian dilemma with the question, ”What can people do without a geography?” Since 1948 with the founding of Israel, Palestinians have been living in an ever-diminishing space, a constantly transformed and disappearing geography. This has radically changed the way Palestinians practice space and the way they orient themselves in the world. Palestinians have emerged as disoriented people not only in the sense that they don’t know where they are going but also in the sense that they know where they want to go but can never reach there. To combat this loss, Palestinians resort to poetic and imaginary means such as those found in the arts, religion, and digital media. These provide Palestinians with the virtual worlds they need in order to negotiate their loss and confinement.

If the Palestinian is a prisoner, digital media has made it possible to make a film about his life in his prison cell. All that is needed is a small video camera mounted on a tripod and the tape always rolling. But what will the inmate film? Himself or the iron bars or his cell’s concrete walls? And how would the prisoner convey his confinement within these few square meters? How would the prisoner film himself “doing time,” as the word goes? Maybe through a lifelong-zoom-in to a concrete wall (as in Wavelength by Michael Snow)? Would he try to show his thoughts, his imaginings? Or maybe invoke all the other space, the outside space that he has no access to? My quest in this paper is partly inspired by this imaginary situation: What kind of film would be made by an inmate in his prison cell “doing time.”

In this paper I focus on a number of films made by Palestinians within the last few years, a period mostly marked by the Israelis’ building an apartheid wall that further segregates Palestinians into isolated ghettos. The films I discuss here are films by people made immobile, not only in the sense of their inability to travel, but more essentially in terms of their inability to reaffirm their identities as they relate to space. I posit memory at the core of this problem. And by memory I don’t mean only recollections of the past (the lost paradise) but also dealings with the present moment, with the actual, the bare fact. A Palestinian’s memory is mostly composed of an uninterrupted flow of uncertainties, insecurities, wars, and a general and detailed sense of destruction. What causes disorientation and loss is not “memories of things past” but of things present. The films I discuss here are more than just concerned with the present moment. They are the very product of it, images of it.

Fundamental to these films is a dislocation between memory and geography, a distorted sense of space, some kind of non-correspondence, and the result that the individual is driven towards virtual worlds in search of continuity. Memory in these films, to use a metaphor, is very much like fantasy in the psychoanalytical optic, where fantasy is the mise-en-scène of desire (Laplanche). Gilles Deleuze conceives of memory as a dynamic movement resulting from a

“fundamental split in time, that is to say, the differentiation of its passage into two great jets, the passing of the present and the preservation of the past” (Dialogues II: 151)

Memory is the internal projector that sets in motion our perceptions, thus producing our sense of orientation in the world. My quest in this paper is to trace moments where memory dysfunctions, where there is a loss of orientation, where memory does not correspond to geography.

I do so through ideas and insights from Deleuze’s chapter on the “Power of the False” in his book Cinema 2, especially his thesis on the emergence of the “crystalline regime of the image” as a sign for the collapse of a normal sense of space or “sensory-motor schemata.”I also use Laura Marks’s text on “intercultural cinema”(2000) where she reads Deleuze’s ideas into cinematic works made in the last two decades by a new generation of filmmakers who are refugees, immigrants, and exiles who settled in the West. I also build on images and observations made by Edward Saïd and W.J.T. Mitchell in two separate essays published in Critical Inquiry in winter 2006 in a special issue on “Geopoetics, Space Place and Landscape.” They provide valuable insights and critical perspectives on the invention and production of both memory and geography.

My reading is also powered by images, such as the image of the inmate in his cell. But I also use the image of Tora Bora. Yes, Tora Bora, the one in Afghanistan. I use Tora Bora as a site, a performance, and a metaphor. Tora Bora as a terrain, a passage, an escape, a maze of some sort, a very different kind of relation to space. These images of Tora Bora and the inmate in his cell serve as a shortcut to the kind of experiences that I want to convey in my reading of these films. By image I don’t mean just visual image or representation of a thing, rather I follow Bergson’s notion in Matter and Memory;

“and by “image” we mean a certain existence which is more than that which the idealist calls a representation, but less than that which the realist calls a thing – an existence placed halfway between the “thing” and the “representation.” (1991: 9) [highlights in the original]

 

In a way, it is against my own memories of incarceration, of being made immobile and absent, that I conduct this whole reading. In what follows I want to pursue a reading of Palestinian cinema that goes beyond categorizing them as “roadblock movies” around which identities clash, power is practiced, and struggles take place (Gerz and Khlefi). As informative as they can be, these readings tend to simplify a much more complex and radical Israeli-Zionist discourse that aims at erasing the Palestinian. In the “road-block-movie” model, the Palestinian character is faced with an obstacle, which, most often is overcome metaphorically or defied by use of the camera. In the films I discuss, it is not the roadblock that presents the crisis, but memory itself. These films are “space block” movies, where no camera tricks can overcome the obstacle.

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