Bits And Pieces

Bits And Pieces


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

What is a documentary if not something which pieces together information? So it is surely more than appropriate that Ben Mandell and Jackie Sawiris should take that assemblage literally and present their consideration of the modern state of Jordan through a series of stop-motion mosaics, which recall the country’s past.

The very word ‘mosaic’ suggests something made from a collection of disparate elements, whether they be basic colours or more concrete testimony, and Bits And Pieces handles this idea with assurance.

Copy picture

A series of interviewees talk about their experiences of living in modern Jordan, attempting to debunk myths about the country along with preconceptions about what it means to be a modern Muslim/Jordanian/Arab. As each interviewee reveals their thoughts on the state of the nation a stop-motion animation unfolds illustrating an image of what they are talking about – from the gay Jordanian who reveals that the country’s opinion of homosexuality is “like cholera” while insisting gay bashing is worse in the US, to the barkeep who reveals he, like many of his faith, enjoys a tipple or two.

Even without the onscreen imagery this would be a captivating short, but the method of illustration is a good one, holding the attention visually, as each person’s argument plays out. The key ingredients of good documentary are all present and correct – simplicity, depth and variety – and Mandell and Sawiris are to be commended for their combination of the three.

Reviewed on: 16 Jun 2009
Share this with others on...
A look at the mosaic of modern day Jordan.
Amazon link

Director: Ben Mandell, Jackie Sawiris

Year: 2009

Runtime: 5 minutes

Country: Jordan


EIFF 2009

Search database: