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Here and Elsewhere + All is Well on the Border

Wednesday, November 11, 2015, 8 p.m., Dryden Theatre

Here and Elsewhere
(Ici et ailleurs, Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville, France 1976, 60 min., 16mm, French w/subtitles)
Here and Elsewhere. “It is necessary to stop making movies on politics, to stop making political movies, and to begin making political movies politically,” declared Jean-Luc Godard as part of the Dziga-Vertov Group, a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist filmmaking collective he spearheaded with Jean-Pierre Gorin between 1968 and 1972. Commissioned by the Arab League in 1970 to produce a film on the Palestinian Revolution provisionally entitled Jusqu’à la victoire! (Until Victory), Godard and Gorin’s cine-revolutionary plans were upended by the events of Black September, which left the fedayeen (whom they’d hoped to feature) dead at the hands of Jordan’s King Hussein. Unable to finish the film as conceived, Godard, now working with Anne-Marie Miéville, transformed the original footage into a scathing self-critique of the assumptions that led a band of European filmmakers to believe they might be able to speak for a people “elsewhere” from their comforts “here.”

All Is Well on the Border
(Al-Shareet bi Khayr, Akram Zaatari, Lebanon 1997, 43 min., digital, French w/subtitles)
Here and Elsewhere. One of Zaatari’s earliest experiments in documentary video, All Is Well emerged from the filmmaker’s desire to understand Israel’s occupation of Southern Lebanon following the 1982 Lebanon War. The video presents a series of testimonies by Lebanese citizens who were detained during the occupation, each presenting an image of resistance that falls outside the dominant narrative of liberation and solidarity promoted by the Lebanese left. At the same time, by actively resisting the tendency in political documentary filmmaking to give a voice to those who do not have one, Zaatari adopts a form of self-critique similar to the one used by Godard and Miéville twenty years earlier in Here and Elsewhere.

Digital file courtesy of Video Data Bank.