AN UNUSUAL SUMMER

صيف غير عادي

YEAR               2020
RUNTIME        80’
COUNTRIES   Palestine; Germany
LANGUAGE    Arabic; English
TECHS            Color, Black and White

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, Visions du Réel, 2020


AWARDS

︎︎︎Best film
Muestra de cine de Lanzarote Spain 2020
︎︎︎Best film beyond the canvas
Black Canvas Film Festival Mexico 2020
︎︎︎Jury prize
Filmmaker Festival Milan Italy 2020
︎︎︎More With Less Award
Images Festival Toronto 2021


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





IT’S A LONG
WAY FROM AMPHIOXUS
جميعنا اتينا من هناك

YEAR               2019
RUNTIME        16’
COUNTRIES   Germany
LANGUAGE    Arabic; English
TECHS            Color
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 Expanded, Berlinale, 2019

FESTIVALS

Berlinale 2019, Berlin




RECOLLECTION

استعادة

YEAR               2015
RUNTIME        70’
COUNTRIES   Palestine; Germany; Lebanon
LANGUAGE    Arabic; English
TECHS            Color, Black and White

The Israeli and American features shot in the town of Jaffa from the 60s to the 90s are the basis for the history of a dream. All protagonists are removed from the original footage, leaving an empty setting formed by the town. Thus, the impossible is made possible from the “I” perspective, namely filming the past and compiling a picture album made of memories.

︎︎︎Locarno Film Festival, 2015

FESTIVALS

Locarno 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
3rd Bienal de la Imagen en Movimento, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Kunstverein München, Germany





PORT OF MEMORY

ميناء الذاكرة


YEAR               2009
RUNTIME        62’
COUNTRIES   Palestine; Germany; France
LANGUAGE    Arabic; Hebrew
TECHS            Color, 35mm
Walled-up houses, notice of expulsion, immobile consumers in a café, an eccentric individual driving round on his scooter shouting, a sick old woman and her daughter glued to a television set, stray cats, the anxiety of a couple tetanised by the sombre certainties of the future, and to finish, a cemetery overlooking the sea and night drawing in on the terraces. The picture that Kamal Aljafari paints for us of Jaffa the Palestinian is that of a shrinking skin slowly closing in on its resigned inhabitants, who are crushed by fate, whatever they say about it, as if the slow-motion repetition of everyday gestures were their only way of suspending the course of time, of delaying the inevitable. 

︎︎︎Javier Packer y Comyn, Cinéma du Réel 2010


AWARDS

︎︎︎Louis Marcorelles Award
Center Pompidou, Cinéma du Réel Paris

FESTIVALS

Cinema du réel, Paris
Torino Film Festival, Italy
International Film Festival Rotterdam
San Fransisco Film Festival
Filmmaker’s Society, Vancouver
Migrating Forms, Anthology Film Archives, NYC
DOC Buenos Aires
San Sebastian International Film Festival
Mapping Subjectivity: Experimentation in Arab Cinema, 1960s-Now, MoMA New York





BALCONIES

الشرفات



YEAR               2007
RUNTIME        7’
COUNTRIES   Palestine; Lebanon
TECHS            Color
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…"

︎︎︎HOMEWORKS IV | Sfeir-Semler – Art Gallery, 2008

Produced with the support of Ashkal Alwan,The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts.




THE ROOF

السطح

YEAR               2006
RUNTIME        61’
COUNTRIES   Palestine; Germany
LANGUAGE    Arabic; Hebrew; English
TECHS            Color
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.



AWARDS

︎︎︎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

FESTIVAL

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





VISIT IRAQ

زورو العراق

YEAR               2003
RUNTIME        26’
COUNTRIES   Germany; Switzerland
LANGUAGE    Arabic; French; English
TECHS            Color
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.

AWARDS

︎︎︎Best german short film
Ministry of Culture, Germany
︎︎︎Jury Prize
Artimage Biennial Graz, Austria



Kamal Aljafari
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