As chilling as it is absurd, Kamal Aljafari’s Paradiso repurposes found footage from Israeli military propaganda and turns it into a fictional drama of men playing at war. Aljafari takes the title from a short story by Borges and describes the work as a “cinematic self-portrait” – questioning our interpretation of screen violence, its relationship to real-world horrors, and troubling our positionality as spectators.
Meriem Bennani’s playful sci-fi trilogy mixes live action, day-glo animation, and a kaleidoscopic score by Fatima Al Qadiri to explore the entangled politics of immigration, state control, and the border zone. Episodes focus on inhabitants of the fictional island of CAPS (short for ‘capsule’), a magnetically sealed megalopolis created to intercept refugees attempting to teleport illegally into the US. Citizens work together to develop new modes of defiance and resistance, harnessing not only emergent biotechnologies but also the liberatory potential of joy and humour.
A programme of short works traversing hallucinatory dreamscapes, contested landscapes, and the precarious movements of bodies through time and space. Argentinian auteur Lucrecia Martel screens alongside contemporary artists, Basim Magdy, Marwa Arsanios and Fox Maxy.
Opening Film: Anerca, Breath of Life
In Inuit, the word meaning to bring forth a poem is the same as the word to breathe – an act that inspires Finnish filmmaker Markku Lehmuskallio’s poetic ethnography, co-directed with his son Johannes Lehmuskallio. A beautifully expansive film centred on performance and the importance of song, Anerca, Breath of life was shot over several decades with the indigenous peoples of the Arctic Circle. People and cultures spanning the borders of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Russia, the filmmakers are clear to point out, “It wasn’t these cultures that drew up these borders, rights have been violated.” Speaking against these continued infractions, the film magnificently expresses the joy, pain and energy of these individuals and communities through fleeting, magical moments of performance, conversation and cinema.
Renegade remixologists Soda Jerk return with Hello Dankness, a bent suburban musical comprised entirely of pirated film samples that bears witness to the psychotropic cultural spectacle of the period 2016 to 2021. Set in the American suburbs, the film follows a neighbourhood as consensus reality disintegrates into conspiracies and other political contagions. Part political satire, zombie stoner film, and Greek tragedy, Hello Dankness is also informed by the encrypted memetics of contemporary internet culture.
Sepa: Our Lord of the Miracles • After the Dust
A pairing of films made in Peru exploring the politics and poetics of justice, liberty, remembrance and forgetting. Walter Saxer’s Sepa: Our Lord of the Miracles traces stories of people lost to the enclosed reality of the prison system, whilst Colectivo Silencio’s After the Dust reanimates voices of resistance often-willingly forgotten within the enclosed system of the nation state.
Science meets speculative fiction in artist Deborah Stratman’s poetic, associative reflection on evolution and extinction from the point of view of rocks and various future others. Loosely based on two short stories by J.-H. Rosny, considered one of the founding figures of modern science fiction, and thinking with figures from Roger Caillois to Donna Haraway, Stratman troubles the limits of human perception, mining the farthest reaches of the biosphere for (im)material traces that bind past, present, and future.
Inner and outer space interpolate in this series of films exploring relational dynamics between public and private worlds. Instagram filters, YouTube tutorials, dating apps and a wearable eye tracker become interfaces through which to perceive shifting notions of bodily autonomy in contemporary life.
Wolf and Dog
Cláudia Varejão’s debut fiction film is a luminous ode to queer communities on the Azores island of Sao Miguel. Culturally specific and delicately nuanced, Wolf and Dog follows protagonist, Ana, as she navigates the stifling forces of religion and tradition in pursuit of the passions and butterflies of new desire. Mirroring Ana’s journey of self-discovery, Varejão’s initially observational style slowly gives way to something more lush and experimental, capturing the gentle unfolding of young love finding its first voice.
What is to be done when our homes and our dreams have been invaded? Graeme Arnfield’s nightmarish essay film traces the curious history of the doorbell, from its invention and reinventions through 19th century labour struggles, to the nascent years of narrative cinema and contemporary surveillance cultures. Home Invasion paints a terrifying portrait of technological ideologies and imaginaries shaping our everyday lives, staging a confrontation with the reality of machines and systems that work against us, hindering the emergence of radical futures.
An in-person screening-performance by award-winning Iranian artist, Maryam Tafakory, whose textual and filmic collages interweave poetry, documentary, archival, and found material.
“To the outsiders, the bystanders, the virtual onlookers, to the disaster capitalist, the hopeless, the failed revolutionist—from wherever you are standing, come a step closer and listen as we try to rewind, to fast forward, to pause, to look away…”
Rea Tajiri’s vibrant, tender cine-poem is fashioned in collaboration with her mother, Rose, as together they confront the painful, curious reality of wisdom “gone wild” in the shadows of dementia. Made over sixteen years, the film blends fact and fiction, humour and sadness, to stage a fragmented, dream-like encounter between mother and daughter that blooms into an affectionate portrait of love, care, and a relationship transformed.
Three concentrated doses of cinematic pleasure. Artists in this programme meditate on storytelling and agency, synthesising practices of filmmaking and living to suggest new forms of intergenerational care. The ways we interpret our collective selves are explored through tender engagements with technologies of record and remembrance.
Translating as “Maputo, I Love You”, Brazilian filmmaker Ariadine Zampaulo’s hybrid cine-poem stiches together elements of documentary, fabulation, performance, and soundscape to produce a polyphonic portrait of Mozambique’s capital city. Her camera beautifully captures the flow and rhythms of urban life unfolding over the course of a single day: Revellers spill from nightclubs as workers board commuter trains; tourists and joggers vie for position in the city’s ancient streets; and a local radio station announces the disappearance of a bride.
A combined programme featuring Huw Lemmey and Onyeka Igwe’s lyrical reflection on intimacy and surveillance through the development of British espionage, and Manuel Muñoz Rivas’ transporting voyage across an expanse of water, half-light and darkness.
Closing Film: Arnold is a Model Student
Inspired by the Bad Student movement calling for educational reform in Thailand, Arnold Is a Model Student follows the titular protagonist as he joins forces with the rebellious Bee and an underground syndicate of misfits helping students cheat on their exams. This accessible yet subversive debut feature from Sorayos Prapapan pivots deftly between moments of absurdist humour and heartfelt, urgent gestures of cinematic protest. Combining dramatic details from his own childhood with footage from contemporary news and social media, Prapapan acknowledges a continuum of generational experience and the interplay between reality and fiction.