Paradiso, XXXI, 108
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.
Described by its maker as a “work of sabotage on archival materials”, in Paradiso XXXI, 108 Aljafari considers the ways narratives of war are constructed, creating a war film in which the supposed enemy is never seen. Found footage of military exercises in the Al-Naqab desert in the south of Palestine are subverted through editing to make a new narrative of war visible. Featuring no additional dialogue from the artist, European classical music is used heavily throughout, a dramatic soundtrack to these acts of violence. The resulting film is an uncanny and ambiguous watch, examining the ways that violence is naturalised through propaganda.
~ Myriam Mouflih
Kamal Aljafari is a Palestinian filmmaker. He attended the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and now lives in Berlin, Germany. He has taught filmmaking at The New School in New York and the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie, Berlin. He was also a Film Study Center Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. In 2021 Olhar de Cinema – Curitiba International Film Festival in Brazil devoted its Focus Section to his work. Most recent work, Paradiso, XXXI, 108, premiered at Corti d’Autore, in Locarno Film Festival 2022. He is currently completing “A Fidai Film”, and preparing a fiction film to be shot in Jaffa.
A Fidai Film (2023), Paradiso, XXXI, 108 (2022), An Unusual Summer (2020), It’s a Long Way from Amphioxus (2019) Recollection (2015), Port of memory (2010), Balconies (2007), The roof (2006), Visit Iraq (2003)