Masterclass with Kamal Aljafari

Sat Nov. 27, 2021 at 11:00 am
Spoutnik Cinema Genève
This masterclass is organized in collaboration with HEAD Cinéma Genève and will be hosted in English by the Swiss director and director of HEAD Cinéma, Nicolas Wadimoff .

An Unusual summer at DOC Buenos Aires 28.10.2021

The 10th edition of Olhar de Cinema – Brazil
FOCUS on Kamal Aljafari

Lar além do mar: o cinema de Kamal Aljafari


Eleger a distância perfeita

The Russian premiere of Kamal Aljafari's film Unusual Summer

September 30, 19:00

The MassArt department of Film and Video is pleased to welcome
Kamal Aljafari to the MassArt Ciné Culture Screening series

on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 7pm EST via Zoom.

PORT OF MEMORY streaming at e-flux September 1-30, 2021

An Unusual Summer at SAVVY Contemporary Berlin

“How to find meaning in dead time”


An Unusual Summer at InLaguna Film Festival Venice

August 29, at 20:15  at Cosmo on the Giudecca island Venice

OFF FESTIVAL - Meeting with the director Kamal Aljafari

The author will talk to the public on Monday, August 30, at 18:00 at Cosmo.

Kamal Aljafari’s short It’s a long way from Amphioxus at
Dazibao contemporary art center Montreal 
“Moving narratives : Images de Palestine” Exhibition 

From November 11, 2021 to January 15, 2022

Kamal Aljafari jury at the 74 Locarno Film Festival

Variety: ‘An Unusual Summer’ Director Kamal Aljafari on
Discovering the Lost Ghosts of Palestine (EXCLUSIVE)

By Ed Meza

في فقرة "أسطورة في صورة" نستضيف المخرج الفلسطيني كمال الجعفري، تزامناً مع مشاركة فيلمه "صيف غير عادي" في الدورة الثالثة لمهرجان "قابس سينما فن"
إعداد:ميشا خليل

Sicilia Queer Filmfest and

European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS)

present a face-to-face meeting between director Kamal Aljafari and prof. Daniele Dottorini


Prima Nuova Lezione Siciliana (con Davide Oberto)18:00 - Cre.Zi. Plus Palermo

Kamal Aljafari, Palestina, una terra scomparsa

Incontro. Il cineasta Kamal Aljafari interviene sulle responsabilità del colonialismo europeo e sulla necessità di fare cinema per diventare visibili

International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021 

Harbour - echoing Rotterdam’s port city identity, IFFR’s newest programme offers a safe haven to the full range of contemporary cinema that the festival champions.

An Unusual Summer

29 May - 5 June 2021

The first part of the Sicily Queer filmfest ( from 3 to 6 June ) proposes an exceptional event for the New Sicilian Lessons section : the workshop with the Palestinian director Kamal Aljafari. The workshop will take place in Palermo, registrations are open until April 30th

The seminar activities will be accompanied by screenings and meetings - in dialogue with film critics and scholars - open to the public, which will culminate within the festival.


An Unusual Summer

May 22 , 9:00 am

—  10:30 am

This program will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Alia Ayman.


Filmparlato Magazine

An Unusual Summer (Kamal Aljafari)

Si esiste solo se si è visti

Giuseppe Gariazzo
27 March 2021

Kamal Aljafari will be a Jury at Visions du Réel
Burning Lights Competition 2021

Mizna Film Series 2021 

An Unusual Summer:
Filmmaker Discussion with Kamal Aljafari and Kareem Estefan

As part of our March film program, join Mizna and The Mosaic Rooms for a discussion
between filmmaker Kamal Aljafari and writer and critic Kareem Estefan. 
The filmmaker discussion will take place on Saturday 3/27 12 pm CST / 6 pm GMT.
An Unusual Summer is available to watch online between 25 and 28 March and in person 24 March (for MN audiences), 2021.

Essay by Lamia Abukhadra  

Life Must Be Disrupted In Order To Be Revealed:
The Recording As Record And The Hyper-Surveilled Entity Not Meant To Exist
In An Unusual Summer

This text is presented as part of the Mizna Film Series, a monthly selection which expands our regular film programming to include screenings, critical essays, filmmaker interviews, and discussions exploring revolutionary forms of cinema from the SWANA region and beyond.

Berlin Critics’ Week 2021  

Film Text: An Unusual Summer
Letters by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz and Kamal Aljafari


The 10th edition of Olhar de Cinema Brazil, October 2021
FOCUS on Kamal Aljafari

This year’s Focus Section shines the spotlight on the work of Palestinian filmmaker Kamal Aljafari, whose latest feature film, An Unusual Summer (2020, 80′), makes its Brazilian debut at the 10th Olhar de Cinema after being shown at several renowned film festivals around the world.

To what extent can the real and figural materiality of an image become an abstraction or, potentially more, a spectrum? The question evokes both aesthetic and ethical problems which, in Kamal Aljafari’s cinema, converge towards a territory as real as it is abstract and phantasmagorical: Palestine. While Aljafari’s cinema stems from the observation of an everyday life that not only coexists within, but inhabits ruin itself, he subsequently transforms these images into trails, echoes, smudges, blurs and, in his most radical recent films, pixels uncapturable by notions of the real. The art of transforming the harrowing materiality of broken walls and destroyed terraces of an invaded territory into a disembodied immateriality is the art of reconfiguring Palestine as a nation, which through moving images ultimately surpasses the forces that imprison and destroy that space. An act of defiance. In Aljafari’s cinema, Palestine becomes a shadow that runs faster than the body from which it emanates.

Amidst fragments of memories and images of a people beset with the insignia of erasure, Kamal Aljafari’s cinema presents chapters of an unfinished story, all at once personal and communal. The Palestinian director and artist, born in the city of Ramla, in 1972, and based in Germany for years, has created a poetic filmography marked by restlessness, devising an elaborate mise-en-scene with different modes of resistance against the systematic attempts to destroy subjects, places, and the symbolic field that attest to a Palestinian existence. Over the course of his almost two-decade career, the filmmaker has undertaken a thorough investigation into the forms and politics of images amidst their power games, about what is seen and what has been made invisible, among material and memorial ruins interpolated in the editing room.

His oeuvre, comprising four feature films which make up this year’s Focus Section and three short films, is largely affiliated with the world of documentary, although it rallies a variety of different procedures and formats in dialogue with the visual arts as much as the essay and experimental universe. One of the hallmarks of this process lies in the manipulation of images in an attempt to extrapolate their figurative nature – such as the use of domestic surveillance
footage from a street camera in his latest feature film, An Unusual Summer (2020, 80′), whose Brazilian premiere will happen during this year’s Olhar de Cinema. From the interviews in his first short film Visit Iraq (2003, 23′), filmed in Geneva, to the fictional venture in Port of Memory (Minaa Al Zakira, 2009, 62’), which explores the gentrification of the city of Jaffa, through the re-editing of film archives in Recollection (Istiaada, 2015, 70’) as it strives to occupy these forbidden territories, each work updates and reconfigures the filmmaker’s path, which exists alongside his family’s trajectory, creating other times and affective dispositions through sounds and images. As in The Roof (Al Sateh, 2006, 63′), the director’s debut feature film, whose title refers to the never-finished ceiling of his parents’ house, the films in this year’s Focus section reveal a never-ending community building process, a sharing rooted in the typical movements of everyday life – whether a house, a street, or a neighborhood – which unites people and remembrances, both present and absent.

This year’s Focus Section will also feature a Open Conversation with Kamal Aljafari, mediated by Carla Italiano and Carol Almeida. The three short films that complete the section – Visit Iraq (2003, 23′), Balconies (2007, 8′), and It’s a long way from Amphioxus (2019, 15′) – will be available on the Olhar de Cinema Youtube channel during the festival.


London Short Film Festival 2019,2016,539.html,2016,539.html?locale=en_US,2016,539.html

Conversations in Contemporary Art presents Kamal Aljafari

We are proud to bring filmmaker Kamal Aljafari to the stage for the second talk in the Conversations in Contemporary Art 2015-2016 winter season.

Retrospective Kamal Aljafari
Cinémathèque québécoise
Monteal 2016


Magazine featuring

The work of Kamal Aljafari

Cinema as a country

The cinematic act as reappropriation of a contested territory in Kamal Aljafari’s Recollection

by Nour Ouayda  Volume 20, Issue 10 / October 2016

Rétrospective Kamal Aljafari

Ou l’acte cinématographique comme réappropriation d’un territoire contesté dans "Recollection"

The Circulation of Palestinian Images

by Viviane Saglier  Volume 20, Issue 10 / October 2016

Rétrospective Kamal Aljafari

Appropriate, Re-mix, Erase, Zoom-in:
The Transformative Power of Film-Making in Kamal Aljafari’s Recollection

by Farah Atoui  Volume 20, Issue 10 / October 2016

Rétrospective Kamal Aljafari

La puissance de transformation du cinéma dans Recollection de Kamal Aljafari
par Farah Atoui

Letter for an aborted interview

Kamal Aljafari Retrospective

by Nour Ouayda  Volume 20, Issue 10 / October 2016

Rétrospective Kamal Aljafari

par Nour Ouayda

CICA is proud to partner with the DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art,
the department of Art History, and the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
to present Kamal Aljafari

DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art in association with Conversations in Contemporary Art (CICA), the Department of Art History Concordia University, the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema Concordia University

Kamal Aljafari: A Recollection

Hamid Dabashi010_06 / 20 November 2016


Notes on a film by Kamal Aljafari
Adania Shibli010 / 8 April 2017

Echo Park Film Center L.A.



The Credits of My Next Movie Kamal Aljafari


Featured artists at 
Robert Flaherty Film Seminar 2009

تدعوكم مؤسسة عبد المحسن القطان ومركز خليل السكاكيني الثقافي
لحضور سلسلة عروض أفلام المخرج الفلسطيني كمال جعفري،
والتي ستعرض في عليّة مركز خليل السكاكيني الثقافي



Short Filmmaking Lab with Kamal Aljafari

Concordia University Fine Arts

Kamal Aljafari at Columbia Universty New York City

Lecture Theatre, SOAS University, Bloomsbury, WC1H 0XG

18th November 2020- Film Masterclass with Kamal Aljafari



Melisa Liebenthal y Sofía Mele (2020, 4’)

Un ensayo audiovisual sobre An Unusual Summer de Kamal Aljafari (Palestina, Alemania, 2020)
An Unusual Summer de Kamal Aljafari es una película hecha exclusivamente a partir de los registros de una cámara de seguridad ubicada en el barrio árabe de Ramla (también conocido como “el Ghetto”), Israel, durante el verano de 2006. Una cámara de vigilancia está dotada de inteligencia artificial y sirve tanto para prevenir delitos como para identificar culpables. La imagen de una persona queda registrada y si la reconocen la atrapan. ¿Pero cómo la reconocen? ¿Por la cara? ¿Por la forma de caminar? ¿Por la ropa? ¿Por el pelo? Toda la responsabilidad recae sobre la imagen, ¿pero se puede confiar en ella?

The extract of the week n ° 19:Port of Memory (Kamal Aljafari / 2010)

The excerpt of the week is a series presented by Zoom Out ( She invites film friends to produce a short text that evokes a favorite moment in their personal film history.
Text: Nour Ouayda
Editing: Olivier Godin
Voice: Rose-Maïté Erkoreka
Duration: 2'29 ''
License: Creative Commons (CC) BY-NC-ND

The Silent Chorus of Limestone: Non-human Witnesses to Intimacy, Creation, and Destruction in Settler Colonialism

Workshops Talks Masterclasses

Short Filmmaking Lab with Kamal Aljafari

Concordia University Fine Arts

Kamal Aljafari at Columbia Universty New York City

SOAS University, London - Film Masterclass with Kamal Aljafari

Engagements with the work of Kamal Aljafari


Melisa Liebenthal y Sofía Mele (2020, 4’)

Un ensayo audiovisual sobre An Unusual Summer de Kamal Aljafari (Palestina, Alemania, 2020)
An Unusual Summer de Kamal Aljafari es una película hecha exclusivamente a partir de los registros de una cámara de seguridad ubicada en el barrio árabe de Ramla (también conocido como “el Ghetto”), Israel, durante el verano de 2006. Una cámara de vigilancia está dotada de inteligencia artificial y sirve tanto para prevenir delitos como para identificar culpables. La imagen de una persona queda registrada y si la reconocen la atrapan. ¿Pero cómo la reconocen? ¿Por la cara? ¿Por la forma de caminar? ¿Por la ropa? ¿Por el pelo? Toda la responsabilidad recae sobre la imagen, ¿pero se puede confiar en ella?

The extract of the week n ° 19:Port of Memory (Kamal Aljafari / 2010)

The excerpt of the week is a series presented by Zoom Out ( She invites film friends to produce a short text that evokes a favorite moment in their personal film history.

Text: Nour Ouayda
Editing: Olivier Godin
Voice: Rose-Maïté Erkoreka
Duration: 2'29 ''
License: Creative Commons (CC) BY-NC-ND

The Silent Chorus of Limestone: Non-human Witnesses to Intimacy, Creation, and Destruction in Settler Colonialism

Interdisciplinary artist Lamia Abukhadra delivers a meditation on settler colonial violence that cuts between multiple perspectives—giving voice to limestone “witness stones” as a temporary archive, material witness, and intimate participant in the creation and destruction of Palestinian life.
Lamia Abukhadra April 10, 2020

Recollective Resistance 

Published on Jan 17, 2020 

A collection of essays curated by Faye Harvey in response to a trio of films made by Kamal Aljafari about the city of Jaffa, Palestine: The Roof (2006), Port of Memory (2009), and Recollection (2015). In advance of his later two films being presented at the London Short Film Festival 2020, six activists, writers and filmmakers contributed essays and reflections on systematic erasure, colonial violence, and the interactions between memory and resistance in historical and present day Palestine.
London Short Film Festival



صيف غير عادي

2020, 80min

Following an act of vandalism, the Palestinian filmmaker’s father decides to install a surveillance camera to record the scenes unfolding in front of the house. Everyday family life, or neighbours going to work, Unusual Summer captures fleeting moments of poetry whereas, in the background, the daily choreography of Ramla, located in today’s Israel, comes to the surface.

Selected Festivals:

Visions du Réel

International Film Festival Rotterdam

Viennale - Vienna International Film Festival

Seville European Film Festival

Filmmaker festival Milan

Lanzarote Muestra Internacional de Cine

Mostra de Cinema Arab i Mediterrani de Catalunya

Etats Généraux du film documentaire Lussas

Black Canvas Film Festival Mexico

Berlin Critics’ Week

Images Festival Toronto

Olhar de Cinema – Festival Internacional de Curitiba Brasil

Doc Buenos Aires Argentina 


Best film
Muestra de cine de Lanzarote Spain 2020

Best film behind the canvas
Black Canvas Film Festival Mexico 2020

Jury prize
Filmmaker Festival Milan Italy 2020

More With Less Award 
Images Festival Toronto 2021

Playful in its construction yet rigorous in its formalism, An Unusual Summer is a philosophical meditation on the gift of film as a vehicle that preserves time; on the power of observation; the myriad ways with which we interpret the world; and the quiet grace of the everyday.

Joseph Fahim –   Middle East Eye
28 December 2020

“Visions du réel, docus en forts intérieurs” Mais le film le plus beau et singulier de cette catégorie claustrophobe fut sans nulle doute l’Unusual Summer de Kamal Aljafari, dont le pitch aurait pu servir de première page à une nouvelle absurde : “ Suite à des actes de vandalisme sur sa voiture, le père palestinien du cinéaste a installé une caméra de surveillance pour enregistrer les scènes se déroulant devant la maison “. Les images tournées par cette caméra dans un quartier de Ramla, en Israël, plan immuable à l’esthétique lo-fi, furent retrouvées par le cinéaste après le décès de son père. Elles détaillent un petit parking, le jardin attenant à un immeuble. Les augmentant de cris d’enfants ou de bruits de pas, d’indications biographiques sur les passants, de ses propres souvenirs, Kamal Aljafari compose une chronique captivante, pas seulement d’un quartier mais d’un territoire intime et politique. La variété de textures, l’humour et la poésie de l’ensemble provenaient de zooms occasionnels sur des détails, dès lors pixélisés hors de toute reconnaissance, ou du choix d’isoler un passant ou rembobiner des séquences. Sans quitter le rebord de cette étrange fenêtre, Kamal Aljafari y fait entrer une élégie poignante, méditation sur le passé d’un homme et d’un pays. Tous les confinés du monde auraient pu tenter l’exercice ces dernières semaines – n’y aurait manqué que la vie.

Elisabeth Franck-Dumas, Libération, 4 mai 2020

En palabras del jurado: “¿Un viejo registro de vigilancia puede mutar en un retrato caleidoscópico sobre una familia, una comunidad y una nación ocupada? Sí, porque un cineasta puede apropiarse de imágenes sobrevivientes y hallar en estas (gracias a un minucioso empleo de reencuadres, trabajo sonoro y un uso singular de la voz en off) toda una época olvidada, con sus fantasmas personales e históricos, signos pretéritos que persisten aún en el presente. El cine puede ser muchas cosas y, como en este caso, ensayar una menesterosa arqueología del afecto y erigirse también como una evocación discreta de una nación que no ha desaparecido aún, pero tampoco ha podido volver a ser. Por esta razón, entre otras, el premio a mejor película le corresponde a An Uusual Summer, de Kamal Aljafari”.

El director de la muestra, Javier Fuentes Feo, ha añadido que “lo que hace An Unusual Summer es convertir un viejo registro de vigilancia en un retrato caleidoscópico sobre una familia, una comunidad y una nación ocupada”. La película cuenta cómo un chico halla 15 años después las imágenes de esa cámara y a través de ellas reconstruye la vida de sus seres queridos, revisa la biografía de su barrio y encuentra la evolución que ha atravesado un pueblo sometido como es el palestino.
X Muestra de Cine de Lanzarote

El jurado que ha tomado esta decisión en deliberación pública está formado por el crítico argentino Roger Koza, la crítica cinematográfica Jara Yáñez y el periodista y crítico canario Claudio Utrera. El fallo, argumentado ante los espectadores de forma abierta y transparente, es ya seña de identidad de la Muestra de Cine de Lanzarote.

Festivals synopsis:

Following an act of vandalism, the filmmaker's father decides to install a surveillance camera to record the scenes unfolding in front of the house. Everyday family life, the neighbours going to work, and the children at school, An Unusual Summer captures fleeting moments of poetry whereas, in the background, the daily choreography of the Arab district—that no one some name the “ghetto”—of Ramla, in current Israeli territory, comes to the surface. Composing with this visual material of low-definition aesthetics, finely punctuated with sound effects, Kamal Aljafari creates a mechanical diary of a life that scrolls past the window and succeeds with patience and infinite grace in transfiguring a ‘film à dispositif'  based on a security device into a personal and eminently political fresco. “In the distant past, many years ago, in front of this house, there stood a fig tree in a garden, which has now vanished, bulldozed into memory, and swept up by History and Time.”

Emilie Bujès

It's the summer of 2006. The war between Israel and Lebanon is raging. In the Arab neighborhood of Ramla known as the Ghetto, a mysterious silhouette attacks a car with a stone. The owner of the car happens to be part of Kamal Aljafari's family and installs a CCTV camera to gather evidence of the crime. Years pass and the images captured by the surveillance camera are found and eventually become this film: an unusual summer indeed.
Half way between a thriller and an intimate diary, AN UNUSUAL SUMMER offers us a concise fresco of an entire population. The street corner upon which the camera is trained suddenly becomes the center of a universe, where passersby appear and disappear and seem to exist only at the moment they cross the frame. Thanks to its elegant work of editing and reframing, the characters move around a few key elements like ghosts, a car, a tree, a house: a choreography of souls, each with a story and each living under the constant threat of war. Aljafari's text is our guide through the film and leads us into a world where the traces of war and occupation are invisible, yet still very present in people's lives. In the background of all this perpetual movement, there stands a fig tree, a monument to the strength of the Palestinian population.
Rebecca Depas

The images contain their chronology, down to the minutes and seconds: In 2006, a surveillance camera in the Arab quarter of Ramla films a car that a short while ago became the victim of vandalism. Neighbours and passersby walk past it as if nothing has happened. Do they have something to hide? Then someone puts his hand on the trunk - An absurdly patient everyday thriller that doubles as an experimental film. Images that change according to the weather become almost indecipherable at night. The device performs its function only half-heartedly. Kamal Aljafari scans its grainy recordings for traces of his late father, who years ago attached the camera to the wall. A search for life and death becomes both a game and a sincere study of what holds the world together.

Die Bilder beinhalten ihre Chronik und sind minutengenau beschriftet: 2006 filmt eine Überwachungskamera im arabischen Viertel von Ramla ein Auto, das kurz davor zum Opfer eines Steinangriffs wurde. Menschen aus den umliegenden Häusern und Passant*innen gehen vorbei, als wäre nichts geschehen. Haben sie etwas zu verbergen?! Dann legt einer die Hand auf den Kofferraum! Ein absurd geduldiger Alltagskrimi, der als Experimentalfilm durchgehen könnte: Aufnahmen, die sich je nach Witterung wandeln, werden nachts beinahe undechiffrierbar. Das Gerät verrichtet seinen Dienst nur mürrisch. Kamal Aljafari scannt die ziellosen Bilder nach Spuren seines verstorbenen Vaters, der die Linse einst an der Wand anbrachte. Eine Suche nach Leben und Tod, die zu einem Spiel wird und gleichermaßen zu einer Studie dessen, was die Welt zusammenhält.


“Nella telecamera di mio padre tutti hanno l'opportunità di esistere” scrive il regista Kamal Aljafari. Alla sua morte, nel 2015, cercando tra le sue cose, Kamal ha scoperto i video della telecamera di sorveglianza che il padre aveva installato nel 2006 per scoprire chi continuava a spaccare i vetri della sua automobile parcheggiata davanti a casa, a Ramla, nell'unico quartiere palestinese rimasto in città dopo l'invasione di Israele del 1948, che ancora oggi gli israeliani chiamano “il Ghetto”. I frammenti di esistenza sottratti casualmente all'oblio dall'occhio meccanico assumono una nuova forma nel montaggio che ne fa Aljafari in An Unusual Summer: le sorelle Imses, mai viste una senza l'altra, la mamma del regista che accompagna la figlia a lavoro o va dal fornaio ogni mattina, il tassista George Sausou con la sua maglietta blu – gesti che si ripetono e che impariamo a conoscere, con cui si crea un'insolita familiarità. Mentre la soluzione del mistero - chi spacca i vetri della macchina? - da elemento di partenza della ricerca diventa lo sfondo di un racconto più grande, brulicante di vita. Schegge di una narrazione privata – la famiglia di Aljafari, il fico davanti a casa la cui presenza ha accompagnato l'infanzia del regista, ormai abbattuto – si intrecciano a un'esperienza collettiva: i bagliori di violenza nel Ghetto, le macchine della polizia che passano la notte a sirene spiegate, qualcuno che scappa, dei colpi di pistola. La realtà di un Paese sottratto con violenza ai suoi abitanti penetra nelle immagini di quella “strana” estate, come la memoria personale imprigionata dal mutare della luce sulle fronde di un fico che oggi non esiste più.

“In my father's camera, everyone has a chance to exist”, writes the filmmaker Kamal Aljafari. When his father died in 2015, while sorting through his things Aljafari found the tapes recorded by the surveillance camera that his father had installed in 2006 to find out the identity of the person who kept smashing the windows of his car, parked in front of their house in Ramla: the sole Palestinian neighbourhood left after the Israeli invasion in 1948 that to this day the Israelis call “the Ghetto”. The fragments of existence casually stolen by the camera's mechanical eye take on a new meaning through the editing made by Aljafari in An Unusual Summer: the Imses sisters, never seen without each other, the filmmaker's mother taking her daughter to work or going to the baker every morning, the taxi driver George Sausou with his blue shirts – events that keep happening and to which  we become accustomed , establishing an unusual familiarity with them. From being the main focus, the mystery's resolution – who breaks the car's windows? -  recedes little by little into the background of a greater narrative, teeming with life. Fragments of a private story – Aljafari's family, the fig tree in front of the house which accompanied the filmmaker's childhood, no longer there – are interweaved with a collective experience: glimmerings of violence in the Ghetto, police cars passing by – sirens blaring – at night, people fleeing, gun shots. The reality of a Country taken from its citizens by force seeps into the images of a “weird” summer, like a private memory captured by the changing of light on the leaves of a fig tree that no longer exists.

Filmmaker Festival Milan

À partir des images de piètre qualité d’un plan fixe d’une caméra de surveillance, Kamal Aljafari parvient avec subtilité à déployer progressivement des lignes de récits inattendues. Après "Recollection", précédemment diffusé sur Tënk, uniquement construit à partir d’images d’archives de films de fiction, on redécouvre ici son extrême attention aux images qui sollicite aussi la nôtre. Son regard précis et délicat nous rend sensible à des détails : une lumière, un geste, un son, une répétition, un commentaire, opèrent un recadrage des images et leur instillent une nouvelle vie. Les récits, pour certains très ténus, vont alors s’entremêler pour donner vie à un passant, une famille, un quartier et finalement reconstituer toute une histoire.
Pour avoir peut-être pendant la période du confinement, chaque jour regardé un même espace du même point de vue, sans quasiment sortir, le regard devenant le seul point de fuite, on comprendra à travers ce film, à quel point la Palestine vit un état de confinement permanent.

Christophe Postic
Co-directeur artistique des États généraux du film documentaire


Nadie puede saber qué destino tiene una imagen, incluso aquella que está condenada a su inmediato olvido perpetuo, como sucede con una imagen de archivo que proviene de una cámara de vigilancia. Que un desconocido vecino del distrito de Ramla en el verano de 2006 tuviera una tara con el hecho de tirar piedras a las ventanas del automóvil del padre de Alfajar llevó a que el damnificado dejara grabando diariamente una cámara apuntando a la calle para descubrir al autor de ese acto menor de vandalismo. Tras la muerte del padre, el cineasta palestino se reencuentra con esos materiales, los interviene visual y sonoramente y erige un relato de suspenso extraordinario en el que la memoria familiar se entrecruza con la memoria política y en el que se descubre, en la repetición de los actos cotidianos de un barrio cualquiera, los instantes inesperados en los que el enigma del mundo se enuncia bajo la gramática del azar. La gran fuerza estética de la película reside en la defectuosa calidad del registro, presunta deficiencia trastocada por un concepto plástico de la textura de la imagen que saca provecho de la opacidad de la imagen de video como condición de hermosura y misterio. (Roger Koza) Artistic Director, DocBuenosAires -
Muestra Internacional de Cine Documental.


25 août 2020




2015, Color and Black and White · 70min
He is dreaming; and, in his dream, he is filming. The someone-filming is returning to Jaffa, as he might to any catastrophized place

Selected Festivals:

Locarmo Film Festival

DOC Buenos Aires, Argentina
Torino Film Festival, Italy

Institute Lumiere Lyon, France

États généraux du film documentaire Lussas

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

3ª edición, de la Bienal de la Imagen en Movimento (BIM)Buenos Aires, Argentina

Kunstverein München, Germany 

Derrière la fiction, il y a toujours la possibilité d’une autre fiction, d’un autre récit qui peut surgir par effraction – la plus forte manifestation du réel. Dans cette recomposition des souvenirs – qui pourrait être une traduction de Recollection – le retour se fait rêve cette fois, confondant passé et présent, se souvenant et rejouant des émotions, resynchronisant des temps désynchronisés. Ou comment revenir hanter et peupler l’espace dans un rêve fébrile et troublant : une errance visionnaire envoûtante.

–  Tënk

“Kamal Aljafari is the chronicler of the inchronicable, visionary of the faded out. Somewhere between the early Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí (Un Chien Andalou) and the late Mani Kaul’s entire magnificent œuvre, in his new film, Recollection, Kamal Aljafari has tapped on a disquieting vision of the ruins and debris in material and memorial, pushing as he does his previous work forward by leaps and bounds. The significance of this work is manifold, achieving two contradictory tasks in particular:  dismounting the omniscient camera and staging the relic. By allowing the memory to stage and announce itself, an enduring philosophical task made essential as early as in Walter Benjamin’s prophetic turn to relics and ruins in his theory of allegory, Aljafari wonders: who is watching, who is watching the watcher, and by what authority? The damning question—Quis custodiet ipsos custodies—is here staged with astonishing confidence and ease, with the threadbare power of a visionary artist taking the instrumentality of his own art to task. The result is uncanny – you feel you have been there – but where, when, how, and now what?”

– Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University, New York





جميعنا اتينا من هناك

2019, 15min

An old woman leans to the young man with the yellow book sitting next to her and asks, “What are they distributing here?” “Numbers”, he replies. In Berlin’s waiting rooms, where metal and wooden seats are nailed to the ground, people arrive after emerging from the seas. Here they wait.
Kamal Aljafari’s new short film once again collapses time, questioning the meaning of life in a system in which humanity is reduced to a number and the value of one’s future is measured by applications within grey hallways. Step into this black hole, where bones and flesh have become numbers in a queuing system. This surreal film observes the origins of our being versus the future of how we are defined. What have we become from our point of origin until today’s chaos of bureaucratic mazes? It’s a long way from Amphioxus, we all came from there.
Forum Exxpended, Berlinale, 2019

Berlinale, 2019



2007,  07:43 min

An experimental meditation focusing on the deteriorated and unfinished balconies of the home town of Kamal Aljafari, Ramla, and inspired by Romance sonámbulo by Federico García Lorca: "But now I am no longer me, and my house is no longer my House…"

Produced with the support of Ashkal Alwan, The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts
HOMEWORKS IV-Gallery | Art Gallery - Sfeir-Semler, 2008


ميناء الذاكرة

2009, 35mm, 62 min.

The history of the town of Jaffa, a thriving port city now part of Tel Aviv, provides the background for Aljafari’s most recent film, centering on his mother’s family at risk of eviction if they can’t find proof that the house they have lived in for decades belongs to them. Their predicament is rendered with Aljafari’s usual subtlety, as well as deadpan humor and dark wit. This skeletal narrative provides the scaffolding for a portrait of life in what was once a bustling neighborhood that was nearly emptied by fighting during the establishment of the state of Israel, and then suffered decades of official neglect. In the meantime, Jaffa was often used as a location for action adventure movies featuring the likes of Chuck Norris. While these films used the city as a generically exotic location, they have now become, in a neat bit of irony, the source of documentary images of the city as it was.
Harvard Film Archive 

Selected Festivals:

Cinema du réel Paris

Torino Film Festival, Italy

International Film Festival Rotterdam 

San Fransisco Film Festival 

Filmmaker’s Society, Vancouver, Canada

Migrating Forms, Anthology Film Archives, NYC

DOC Buenos Aires, Argentina

San Sebastian International Film Festival

Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema, 1960s-Now
MoMA New York 


Louis Marcorelles Award
Center Pompidou, Cinéma du Réel Paris


Once a thriving Palestinian port city, Jaffa has now become an extension of Tel Aviv. It often served as the backdrop for action films set in the Middle East, without showing any actual Palestinians. Aljafari offers a subtle portrait and memoir of a disappearing city that has been changed forever by incessant construction, gentrification and dispossession of its inhabitants.
It quietly traces the streets of Jaffa and follows the rhythms of life of the city and its people, centered around mundane rituals and occurrences that instil a sense of normalcy. We find a cat napping lazily on the TV, an elderly parent being taken care of, a family watching TV and hands being washed repetitively. Against this seemingly still décor, the filmmaker’s family are at risk of eviction if they cannot prove their ownership of their house.
International Film Festival Rotterdam


This Place They Dried From The Sea: An Interview with Kamal Aljafari
By Nasrin Himada


link : Jadaliyya Cinematic Occuptation

Recommended Research:

Le rituel contre l’oubli : Une archéologie du quotidien dans Port of memory de Kamal Aljafari, par Nour Ouayda, Université de Montréal



2006, video, 61 min.

This deceptively quiet film presents a portrait of Aljafari’s family in Ramleh and Jaffa that hovers between documentary and cinematic memoir, guided by a nimble camera moving calmly but ceaselessly around the rooms of homes inhabited, damaged and ruined. The title refers to the roof missing from the house where Aljafari’s family resettled in 1948, a home unfinished, an incomplete construction project.  The use of stillness and off-screen space creates a sense of suspension, of time spent waiting, of aftermath, of lives lived elsewhere. Aljafari’s striking use of his “cast,” his family, reveals the influence of Bresson’s use of nonprofessional actors as models whose performances emanate from their presence, not from acting.
Harvard Film Archive 

Selected Festivals:

FIDMarseille —Marseille International Film Festival
Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, California, USA
The Images Festival of Film & Video Toronto, Canada
Breda Photography Festival, Holland
Stedelijk Museum, Bureau Amsterdam, Holland
CinemaEast Film Festival, New York, New York, USA
Arab Film Festival, San Francisco, California, USA
Musée Jeu de Paume, Paris, France
Visions du Réel Festival, Nyon, Switzerland
Rotterdam International Film Festival, Holland
L’Alternativa de Barcelona, Spain
Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival
Cinémathèque de Nice
Filmer à tout prix, Brussels, Belgium
Cinéma Méditerranéen Montpellier, France
DOC Buenos Aires, Argentina
Le P’tit Ciné, Brussels, Belgium


Best Soundtrack
FID Marseille, France

Best International Film
Images Festival,Toronto

Special Mention
Filmer à tout prix, Brussels, Belgium

Special Mention
Cinéma Méditerranéen Montpellier, France

" A work at once explicitly personal, coolly contemplative, and full of coruscating protest—is to recognize a marvelously intuitive artist and the momentum of a larger cinematic movement at the same time. "

Irina Leimbacher - SF360, San Francisco Film Society

The Roof  is as much a stylistic as a political manifesto that reveals not so much the meaning of an absent roof, but the architecture of identity, place, and present pasts."

-Curator and critic, Jean-Pierre Rehm


A man returns to his country, that of his parents, Palestine - the Israel of today.

Caught in the dotted contours of existences and fragmented places, he searches for a place and a coherent story. Weaving the shreds of his past as a then incarcerated adolescent, his journey is less the quest for his memory than the attempt to reconquer a present - as a living past.

Its formal setting: the unfinished story hanging over the family home. Far from spectacular journalistic strategies or supposedly truthful surveys, far from brandished causes and their logic of victimization, we will however find nothing anecdotal here. Or the anecdote elevated to the rank of allegory, which allows the film to take the paths and the rhythm of meditation, to put a knocked down wall in echo with a wall that is being built.

Political manifesto as much as formal, what Kamal Aljafari reveals is more than the meaning given to the absence of a roof, it is the architecture specific to the identity, the place and the pasts still present.

FIDMarseille International Festival
Jean-Pierre Rehm

Ce film faussement paisible dresse le portrait de la famille de Kamal Aljafari à Ramla et à Jaffa, quelque part entre documentaire et autobiographie filmée, par les mouvements tranquilles mais incessants d’une caméra agile dans les différentes pièces de maisons inhabitées, abîmées ou en ruines. Le titre fait référence au toit qui manquait à la maison où la famille du cinéaste s’établit en 1948, une maison inachevée, un projet de construction laissé en suspens.
Premier film de ce qui formera après coup une trilogie, « Le Toit » désigne celui qui manque au second étage de la maison familiale. Le retour de Kamal Aljafari, palestinien, cinéaste, auprès de sa famille dans les rues de Jaffa et Ramla, est une exploration de ce temps suspendu depuis l’exode et une tentative de réappropriation d’une histoire contemporaine. Le récit autobiographique s’incarne dans le quotidien, attentif aux ambiances d’une étonnante douceur où se loge une réalité plus brutale.

Tenk France


CineMondo Rassegna di cinema mediorientale: “Alsateh” (Le toit) di Kamal Aljafari

Recommended Research:

From the Interior: Space, Time and Queer Discursivity in Kamal Aljafari's The Roof, by Peter Limbrick
in The Cinema of Me: The Self and Subjectivity in First Person Documentary Efited, By Alisa Lebow, Series: Nonfictions, 2012, Published by: Columbia University


زورو العراق

2003, Kamal Aljafari student film

Visit Iraq is a short about the abandoned Iraqi Airways office in Geneve, it was made during Kamal Aljafari studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne

Nominated for best german short film,
(one of the two films finalists for the award)
Ministry of Culture, Germany

Jury Prize, Artimage Biennial Graz, Austria