Intervals is a regular programme which premieres film work that lies beyond the Museo Reina Sofía’s mainstream circuit. This fresh edition centres on the first screening in Spain of Mapping Lessons, a film made by Cairo-based film-maker and artist Philip Rizk, who will also be present at the event. The film is a montage of archives on the history of mass uprisings, spanning the Paris Commune in 1871 and more recent examples of self-organisation in Syria.
A sharp observation by Jean-Luc Godard on Israeli and Palestinian film is also applicable to our European vision of socially committed Arab cinema: the resource of fable and fiction is the “property” of Israeli film-makers, whereas there is insistence upon Palestinians for the factual immediacy of the documentary image; put another way, reality in its most precarious and miserable state. Mapping Lessons monumentally breaks this division and is striking as a sophisticated and intelligent film about social utopia in the contemporary Arab world, whereby a montage of historical archives is mixed with an experimental exercise in narrative fiction. Thus, it forms a constellation of radical movements, from the Soviets of the Russian Revolution to present-day communes in Syria, assembled through travel diaries and memories of Arab subjects who have lived through these times of change and expectation.
In the words of Philip Rizk: “After the crushing of our revolution in Egypt in 2013, Mapping Lessons began as a daydream. The film is a visual conversation between political struggles across time and space, from anti-colonial battles against the French and British in the 1920s, to the Syrian Revolution in 2011, 1936 Spain, a revisionist memory of Russian Soviets and the Paris Commune, among others. Mapping Lessons was my way of relating our neo-colonial relationship with the past, all with an eye on what to do the next time”.
Philip Rizk (Limassol, Cyprus, 1982) is a film-maker and activist. He is a member of Mosireen, a collective that broadcast and composed a real-time archive of the 2011 Egyptian revolution (858: An Archive of Resistance). After studying philosophy and anthropology, he has worked in the field of video since 2008. His productions have been screened at international festivals such as Berlinale, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) and the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival. In 2015, he participated in the German pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia with Out on the Street, a film made with Jasmina Metwaly the same year. His essay on images and the Egyptian Revolution “2011 is not 1968: An Open Letter to an Onlooker” was published in the anthology Uncommon Grounds. New Media and Critical Practices in North Africa and the Middle East (compiled by Antony Downey, I.B. Tauris, 2014).
Javier H. Estrada is a critic, lecturer and cinema programmer. He holds an MA in the History of Film and Visual Media from Birkbeck College, University of London, and is head of programming at the Seville Film Festival and the FILMADRID International Film Festival. He is also a member of the editorial board for the magazines Caimán. Cuadernos de cine and Secuencias. Revista de historia del cine.
Thursday, 16 December – 6pm
Philip Rizk. Mapping Lessons
—Presentation and talk by Philip Rizk
Saturday, 18 November – 6pm
Philip Rizk. Mapping Lessons
—Presentation and talk by Philip Rizk and Javier H. Estrada
Egypt, 2020, colour and b/w, original version in Arabic, French, German, English and Ukrainian with Spanish subtitles, DA, 61’
- Director, editor and producer:
- Philip Rizk
- Editing advisor:
- Mohamed Hassan Shawky
- Design, supervision and sound editing:
- Max Schneider
- Sound editing:
- Nadah El Shazly
- Farah Barqawi, Katharine Halls y Ma Hoogla-Kalfat (MaYo)
- With interventions by:
- Farah Barqawi, Walid, Aylin Çankaya, Saeed al-Wakeel, Matthieu Rey, Ahmed, Z, M. and Osama al-Hossein
- With the support of:
- Foundation for Arts Initiatives (FFAI) and DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program
- Produced in:
- AFAC Unspoken Series at Volksbühne Roter Salon