Screening 2 | Media as Sanctuary

January 26, 2024 at 6:30–9:30pm

La lumière collective
7080 Rue Alexandra #506, Montréal, QC H2S 3J5


This screening focuses on the role of digital media, screen culture, and virtual space as potent and imaginative sites and sights of refuge, solidarity, and resistance against hegemonic historical narratives, reading the image against the grain of oppressive national or colonial dominance in the popular culture.

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Irani Bag (2021), Maryam Tafakory, 7′

Using excerpts of films produced between 1990 and 2018, Irani Bag is a split-screen video essay questioning the innocence of bags in post-revolution Iranian cinema. Irani Bag is part of Monographs, a series of essays on Asian cinema commissioned by the Asian Film Archive (AFA).

Your Father Was Born 100 Years Old So Was the Nakba (2017), Razan Al Salah, 7′

A ghostly voice echoes: the disembodied, imaginary voice of the filmmaker’s grandmother, a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon who was never able to return to her hometown. Her words haunt Google Street View images of Haifa, the only means she could have had of visiting her lost home. But 50 years after the “great catastrophe,” the streets are no longer recognizable. The old woman’s soul wanders in vain through cyberspace in search of her house, probably demolished after the Nakba, and for her son Ameen, imagined as a little boy from another time. Over the images, which distort and pixilate as the network connection cuts in and out, are superimposed images of the trauma of forced relocation. Razan AlSalah pays heartbreaking tribute to the first generation of refugees. (Charlotte Selb, RIDM)

If from Every Tongue It Drips (2021), Sharlene Bamboat, 68′

If from Every Tongue It Drips is a film that explores questions of distance and proximity, identity and otherness, through scenes from the  daily interactions between two queer women—a poet and a cameraperson. Created between three locations: Montreal, Batticaloa and the Isle of Skye, and connected through languages – Urdu, Tamil & English, personal and national histories, music and dance, and the gaze of the camera lens, they explore subjects both expansively cosmic and intimately close—from quantum superposition to the links between British colonialism and Indian nationalism.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with Razan Al Salah and Sharlene Bamboat, moderated by Sanaz Sohrabi and Farah Atoui.

Media as Sanctuary is part of the The Political Aesthetic: Resisting Displacement, Displacing Resistance screening series (October 2023-April 2024), curated by Sanaz Sohrabi and Farah Atoui.

Curated by FMS members Farah Atoui and Sanaz Sohrabi, the screening series offers a framework for exploring the Political Aesthetic through the medium of the moving image. The program is equally interested in filmmakers’ defiant artistic processes and in the practices of dissent that these filmmakers record on film, with a focus on creative interventions that aesthetically and politically resist displacement. The films and videos presented here address different conditions and forms of expulsion across multiple geographies–from Palestine, Lebanon, and Iran to the Western Sahara, Guinea-Bissau, and India, to Canada and the US. These works are also committed to resisting displacement by creating spaces and places that function as refuge. Whether imaginary or material, temporary or persistent, shifting or grounded, these sanctuaries take up space in ways that disrupt the force and violence of displacement as the outcome of colonization, state-formation, capital accumulation, and border consolidation. These sanctuaries also forge new places of encounter, exchange, and inhabitation that energize and expand political imaginaries.

The series takes place from October 2023 to May 2024.

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