The JCC-Carthage Film Festival is launching Diaspora? a new section which runs in parallel to the artistic and industry programming. It presents our cinephile audience with a selection of 6 feature films (3 documentaries and 3 fiction) produced in 2019. The films will be screened throughout the festival, accompanied by two panels hosted as part of Carthage Talks.
As a celebration of the founding spirit of JCC-Carthage Film Festival, this new section was curated with the intention of highlighting films that address African and Arab roots, notably through the filmmakers' personal journeys and their chosen themes of exile, migration, alienation, nostalgia, (un)belonging, (dis)connection, estrangement, and the quest to recover individual and collective memory, soul, identity, and finally home.
This selection is by no means intended to be representative of the vast and diverse bodies of diaspora cinemas. The question mark in the title is at once a clear invitation to (re)think collectively the concept it-self and a refusal to accept the naturalisation of this category as a fixed label imposed on the filmmakers or their films.
By collaborating with the Programmers of Colour Collective (POC2), we aim to maintain the conversation on a global scale across this network and to bring it back to Carthage Talks, every year, in a forum where the multiplicity, diversity, and complexity of these experiences can be both showcased and discussed by and with those who create it, curate it, research it and, last but not least, those who watch it.
Diaspora? is a cinematic and discursive journey that ambitiously challenges our perceptions of locale, identity, and belonging by allowing us to think of the “cinemas of the diasporas” as a malleable concept in a constant state of evolution and reinvention.
Leaving home - Longing for home:
Mother I am Suffocating, This is my Last Film About You - Lemohang Jeremaiah Mosese (2019)
Chosen or forced exile can create an overbearing feeling of alienation. This intimate, poetic and visually striking film-essay renders the deep and ambivalent feelings created by exile towards the motherland, oscillating between: feelings of attachement and uprootedness, of fond nostalgia and deep rejection.
Homecoming - Quest for memory:
Arab Blues - Manele Labidi (2019)
In Mansourah You Separated Us - Dorothée Myriam Kellou (2019)
When the trans-generational passing of memories is impossible and replaced instead by a thick silence, cinema can be a powerful tool to recapture the distance with one’s history. Exploring one's heritage by this quest for memory can help navigate the state of in-betweenness created by belonging to different cultures simultaneously.
Parisian Diasporic experiences:
Paris-Stalingrad - Hind Meddeb (2019)
The Misérables - Ladj Ly (2019)
You Deserve a Lover - Hafsia Herzi - 2019
Whether they reveal systemic violence and racism, as in The Misérables and Paris-Stalingrad, or whether they depict the ordinary (love)lives of “the children of the diaspora”, as in You Deserve a Lover, these films highlight the multiplicity of diasporic experiences linked to the post-colonial African and Arab immigration, including the perspective of Paris’ sprawling suburbs and their dislocation and disarticulation with the French capital itself; so close yet so far.
*See the 2019 Official JCC-Carthage Film Festival Catalogue for the synopses and complementary information on the films and filmmakers.
A conversation with film curators, researchers and critics
Sunday 27 October, 2019
Cité de la Culture - Sophie El Golli Hall - 1st Floor
14:00 - 15:30
Positioned and working in the Global South as well as in the Global North, the panelists are invited to collectively draw the outlines of what the “cinemas of the diaspora” can be, through their own experiences of programming, curating, researching, writing about and distributing these cinemas.
Who are these films made for? Who gets to program them and for which audiences? These questions are paramount and reflect entrenched power dynamics that could be countered by having a more diverse, inclusive and representative pool of practitioners interconnected within transnational and transdiasporic networks.
Discussing Haitian and Palestinian cinemas, will allow us to highlight the intermeshed relations between national and diasporic cinema, and how the latter challenges the fixed notion of the often essentialized national cinema.
The same goes with the cinema of the French « double vague »*, that manages to subvert the dominant codes and canons by proposing alternative economic and aesthetic models: from writing to the modes of production and distribution.
A conversation with:
Claire Diao (Film critic, curator and distributor, AWOTELE, The Directors' Fortnight, Sudu Connexion)
Farah-Clémentine Dramani Issifou (Researcher, curator, Cannes Critics’s Week)
Joseph Fahim (Curator and critic, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival)
Lena Ghannam (Journalist and Creative director of DC Palestinian Film + Arts Festival)
Guetty Felin (Filmmaker and curator)
Moderation : Themba Bhebhe (Co-founder of Programmers of Colors Collec-tive - Head of Diversity & Inclusion, EFM-Berlinale) and Samia Labidi(Curator of Diaspora?)
*Expression coined by Claire Diao, in her book of the same title published in 2017
A conversation with the filmmakers.
Sunday 27 October, 2019
Cité de la Culture - Salle Sophie El Golli - 1st Floor
16:00 - 17:30
Hailing from Algerian, Palestinian and Tunisian backgrounds, these filmmakers are part of communities often underrepresented, misrepresented and objectified by an exoticizing gaze. Through fiction or documentary, they are all making use of their cinematic universes to make sense of their shared diasporic condition.
By bringing to the silver screen not only individual but collective diasporic experiences, they are actively reclaiming their agency and reappropriating their own narratives. Shifting the lens and articulating these stories through their own voice, they are laying claim to collectiveness while questioning the power dynamics behind representations.
How do they balance the responsibility that comes with this empowering act and the right to express their personal subjectivities outside of the diasporic realm?
How do these filmmakers develop and foster a connection to their country of origin? And how do their films embody the mutually overlapping and exclusives histories split by the (post)colonial and imperial fault lines? The conversation will also delve into the cinematic homecoming experiences some have in common, and explore how their hybrid identities can transcend national boundaries.
A conversation with:
Assia Boundaoui (Filmmaker and journalist - The Feeing of Being Watched, 2018)
Dorothée Myriam Kellou (Filmmaker and journalist - At Mansourah, You Separated Us, 2019)
Manele Labidi (Filmmaker - Arab Blues, 2019)
Hind Meddeb (Filmmaker and journalist - Paris-Stalingrad, 2019)
Lina Soualem (Filmmaker and actress - You Deserve a Lover, 2019 (actress) / Their Algeria, 2019 [director- work in progress])
Moderation: Samia Labidi (Curator of “Diaspora?”)