Your Father Was Born 100 Years Ago And So Was The Nakba


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Your Father Was Born 100 Years Ago And So Was The Nakba
"Victor Breiss creates sound that has echoes, distortions, replacements."

Google Maps Streetview is used to return to Haifa - or, more specifically, in one of a number of small notes, 7aifa, a very particular resonance of language in a single character.

An old photograph is superimposed, a confluence of angle, an electronic echo in the soundtrack and here distance and time and separation, new street names, drawing from an old well.

It's now called Liberation Avenue, but time has passed, this is a return but one intermediated, required by circumstance, the weight of conflict and history and conflicting histories. A ship that carried families to Beiruit from buildings now erased is a tourist destination. The weight of history and its interpretation means the landscapes are scarcely recognisable - seeking the specific, the human, in geography, that is now different. Aftermath abounds, in tone, in structure, in quest. "even the sea is broken". Razan AlSalah's debut film, it leverages the ease of the electronic age to allow exploration by proxy to return a grandmother to a Palestine she cannot go back to - what's there isn't what was there, the there there isn't their there, and under and around Victor Breiss creates sound that has echoes, distortions, replacements. Names of streets that were imposed by one legacy are now different again.

Experimental in tone, close to literally in the throttle and throb of the score, there's a moment that verges on strobe, the rapid flash between the city streets framed by other eyes, named in other tongues, remembered from distance. Pan and zoom and any other members of the technological pantheon cannot undo, can only enhance so far. Deckard might have found what he was looking for but even the sequel didn't tread that same allegorical ground - searching balconies for bicycles, silent streets for meaning. The men with the ladder might help, but it is AlSalah's ambition that elevates her film.

Reviewed on: 18 Mar 2018
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A Palestinian grandmother returns to her hometown through Google Maps Streetview.

Director: Razan AlSalah

Year: 2017

Runtime: 7 minutes

Country: Palestine


GSFF 2018

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