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by Basma al-Sharif
Egypt, Italy, Germany, 2023, 17’
Presented at the 16th edition of Lo schermo dell’arte, 2023
Screenplay and editing: Basma al-Sharif
Photography: Simon Veroneg, Davide Artusi
Credits: courtesy of the Artist and Imane Farès Galerie
Sound: Federico Chiari, Rabea Sliman
Co-commission: The Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series
vo: Italian, Arab, French; st: English; Italian
What’s the link between “white telephone” films, precursors of Mussolini’s propaganda cinema, and the construction of new cities in Egypt? Palestinian artist Basma al-Sharif’s answer is a satirical, even grotesque film, with references to geography and political history. A woman on the receiver of a white telephone is seduced by a male voice promoting new apartments for sale. A ventriloquist (played by artist Diego Marcon) makes puns. These scenes alternate with commercials for luxury residential complexes. The film’s title refers to the colossal project for a new Egyptian capital, planned during the 1970s.
Basma al-Sharif (Kuwait, 1983, lives and works in Berlin) is an artist and filmmaker of Palestinian origin. Her works have been exhibited in international shows, including the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the Art Institute of Chicago, MoMA New York, CCA Glasgow, Whitney Biennial at the New Museum in New York, the Berlin Documentary Forum, the Sharjah Biennial, and Manifesta 8 in Murcia. Her films have been screened at international festivals such as Locarno, Berlinale, FID Marseille, and the Media City Film Festival.
Selected Filmography
2017 Ouroboros; 2016 Trompe l’Oeil 2015 Renée’s Room; A Field Guide to the Ferns 2014 High Noon; O, Persecuted; Deep Sleep; Untitled (Lyndsay Bloom) 2013 Home Movies Gaz