Cinema Akil, Dubai’s only independent cinema, presents a three-week retrospective of Joana Hadjithomas’ and Khalil Joreige’s films, including the premiere and exclusive GCC release of ‘Memory Box,’ which had its worldwide premiere at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival.
Running from March 3 to March 23, The Retrospective runs in parallel with a solo exhibition featuring Hadjithomas’ and Khalil’s latest body of work ‘Unconformities’ at the reopening of The Third Line Gallery.
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‘Memory Box’ is considered the Lebanese filmmaker and artist duo Hadjithomas’ and Joreige’s most accomplished work to date. They question throughout the film the role of memory in creating images and writing contemporary history, as well as emotional processes associated with war trauma as their memories of the Lebanon civil war between 1982 and 1988 unfold through the story of their two film characters Maia and her teenage daughter Alex. As Maia refuses to open a box she received one Christmas eve that contained photographs, films and letters from a war-torn past, her daughter had other ideas.
There is a narrative in which the character Alex’s experience of the social media aesthetics is in conversation with the physical presence of images from Maia’s youth. This conversation engenders a unique and touching film which gives shape to personal visions and depictions.
Commenting on this program, Butheina Kazim, Founder of Cinema Akil, said: “In celebration of Cinema Akil’s return to 100 percent capacity this art season we return to the core of our raison d'être as a cinema that highlights the importance of regional filmmaking with our longest-running retrospective yet: a program of Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige's filmography which have always been situated at the intersection of film and art. With it, we reassert our commitment to collaboration and complementary presentations working in parallel with the filmmakers, the solo show at the Third Line Gallery, and Al Serkal programming. The program presents 10 of the filmmaker-artists’ films with an exclusive release of ‘Memory Box.’”
Cinema Akil’s Retrospective line-up include ‘Memory Box’ (2021) that premiered at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival; ‘Ismyrna’ (2016) in memory of the late artist Etel Adnan; ‘Je Veuz Voir’ (I Want to See) (2008), starring Catherine Deneuve and Rabih Mroué, which premiered at the official selection of Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and was awarded Best Singular Film by the French Critics Guild; and ‘A Perfect Day’ (Yawmon Akhar) (2005), which premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival and received multiple awards including the Fipresci Press Prize.
Other films also include ‘The Lebanese Rocket Society: the Strange Tale of the Lebanese Space Race’ (2012), ‘Khiam 2000-2007’ (2008); and ‘The Lost Film’ (Al Film El Mafkoud) (2003).
Organized in collaboration between Cinema Akil and The Third Line gallery, the Retrospective is presented with SAFAR Film Festival, London, and the support of Institut Français and the Embassy of France in the UAE.
The full calendar can be found on the Cine Akil website.
Launched in 2014 as a nomadic cinema, Cinema Akil has held over 60 pop-up cinemas attracting over 65,000 attendees in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. In September 2018, Cinema Akil opened its first permanent location in Al Quoz, Dubai making it the GCC's first arthouse cinema.
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