Hisham Bizri Retrospective
Saturday, 9/30 at St Anthony Main Theatre
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DIALOGUE WITH A FILMMAKER: A RETROSPECTIVE OF HISHAM BIZRI’S WORK
In this series of films, we highlight the work of Lebanese American experimental filmmaker Hisham Bizri, in particular his films that highlight the lives of artists both in and outside the Arab world. In these films, his documentary style enlists the filmic image in the work of homage and critique, a process which documents the lives of a filmmaker, a poet, and an actor while exposing the ways that cinema and pictures shape our worlds.
Post-screening conversation with filmmaker Hisham Bizri and visiting film critics Fred Camper and Mohannad Ghawanmeh, former curator of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival.
21 mins / 2005
Arabic with English subtitles
Asmahan is a film poem about the famous Syrian singer of the same name. A rearrangement of Asmahan’s B-film Passion and Revenge (Youssef Wahby, Egypt, 1944), Bizri’s version is made up of four parts: love, death, love, and death. And like Asmahan’s musical notations, every shot is connected to every other, and nearly every shot contains the actress. In fact, she is the only speaker in this re-edited version. In this way, the film forces the viewer to confront our obsessive relationship with the image, reminding us of the interplay between voyeurism and exhibitionism: we see her, but she also sees us.
BENEATH THE WIDE WIDE HEAVEN
short / documentary
15 mins / 2016
USA / Italy / Cambodia / Vietnam
English and Italian with English subtitles
In this experimental documentary, Pier Paolo Pasolini plays the role of director and conveyor of human experience. Pasolini watches, listens, and feels, while he films the “Passion of Jesus Christ” as it will appear in The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Pier Pasolini, Italy, 1964) as well as mundane, historical events. All of this is done with the the hope that the film will convey human suffering and decadence through interconnections.
Festivals and Awards:
Oberhausen International Film Festival, Germany, 2016
Best Editing, Ramunas Atelier International Independent Film Awards, Lithuania, 2016
THE WANDERER (SHOOQ)
37 mins / 2017
Shooq or The Wanderer is an ethereal film portrait of a Jordanian artist, Mamdouh Bisharat, who, like Kurt Schwitters and Joseph Cornell, uses psychological collages made up of fragments and found objects to interpret the world around him. In the film, we see a solitary Bisharat in his house as he witnesses the disappearing moment around him and the weight of time, remembered and lost in the Arab world today.
Hisham Bizri is a Lebanese American director, writer, and producer born in Beirut. He studied filmmaking at Harvard, in New York, and in Illinois. Bizri’s films have screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Villa Medici, the Beaux-Arts de Paris, the Cinema Days of Beirut, the Roma Contemporary Art Fair, the Louvre Museum, the Biennale Des Cinema Arabes, the Milan Film Festival, the Walker Art Center, the Institut du Monde Arabe, the Harvard Film Archives, the Reina Sofia, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Cinémathèque Française in Centre Pompidou, the Cairo Opera House, and Mizna’s Twin Cities Arab Film Festival. Bizri has served as a juror on a number of international film festivals including the Chicago International Film Festival. He has also served as a juror for the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival. He has been instrumental in establishing filmmaking at the Lebanese American University, the Korean National University, and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. He is also the co-founder of the Arab Institute of Film.
Fred Camper has been writing about film, from experimental cinema to classical Hollywood, for many decades. He has also written extensively on art and photography. He made experimental films when younger, and for the past thirteen years has been making digital prints, mostly photo-based art works. He has curated and lectured on film programs on four continents, and his writing has been translated into at least nine languages. fredcamper.com
Mohannad Ghawanmeh is a film scholar and cineaste. He has produced, acted in, curated for, written about, and lectured on film. His expertise is centered on Arab cinema, but thoroughly extends into silent cinema, non-fiction cinema, transnational cinema, religious cinema, and more. He co-founded and formerly directed Mizna’s Twin Cities Arab Film Festival and is an emeritus Mizna board member. Ghawanmeh is a PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies in the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also a 2017–18 fellow in the American Research Center in Egypt. His dissertation investigates the political economy of silent cinema in Egypt, 1896–1932. Mohannad Ghawanmeh’s Twitter