Two Screenings Co-presented with Images Festival

Reel Asian is excited to co-present with Images Festival, two screenings curated by Annie Wong on Sun, April 14 in the 37th edition of their festival.

At 2PM, we will screen To Look and to Loiter: Shafāfiyyāh and A Thousand-Year Stage, featuring artists Batoul Faour and Daphne Xu. At 4:30PM, we will screen VIENTO DEL ESTE (EAST WIND), followed by a conversation between curator Annie Wong and artist Maia Gattás Vargas.

Batoul Faour, Daphne Xu

Curated by: Annie Wong

This shorts program couples Batoul Faour’s Shafāfiyyāh and Daphne Xu’s A Thousand-Year Stage to consider how urban infrastructures in cities as disparate as Beirut and Xiongan New Area, can function as sites where memory, power, and refusal consistently collide in the geographies of everyday life.

In the immediate aftermath of the devastating explosion in August 2020, the city of Beirut was blanketed by glass debris. The disaster, triggered by a neglected, state-owned chemical warehouse, made transparent the corruption of Lebanon’s political elite, deepening civil unrest against the country’s sectarian rule. In Shafāfiyyāh (“transparency” in Arabic), Faour looks to the materiality of glass – its sound, transparency, and weight – as a language for past and recurrent traumas in the collective memory of Beirut. Using the essay-film format, Faour refuses a position of neutrality, politicizing the glass fragments of the city from the explosion to the glass lens of the camera.

In April 2018, the President of China announced the ambitious “Thousand-Year Project” that would transform the rural region of Xiong’an New Area, located 100km south of Beijing, into the next megacity. In A Thousand-Year Stage, filmmaker Daphne Xu captures the liminal condition of rural life at the cusp of rapid urbanization. As a high-speed rail station cuts across the landscape, local residents and migrant workers engage in live-stream performances and communal karaoke, while laboring and loitering on the train plazas and construction sites. These new spaces become the stage where contemporary rural Chinese life takes shape in the transient period before urbanization takes hold.

These new spaces become the stage where rural contemporary Chinese life takes shape in the transient period before the advent of urbanization.

Batoul Faour

Lebanon | 2023 | MP4 | 15 MIN | English and Arabic with English and Arabic subtitles

Following the destruction of the August 4, 2020 explosion in Beirut, this film examines a material politics of glass embedded in the collective Lebanese psychology. Using the genre of the essay-film , it unpacks a history of repeated political violence, while expanding the semiotics of glass to reveal the different social and cultural disparities within Beirut’s built environment and the many dichotomies of its lived experience.

Daphne Xu

CHINA, CANADA, USA | 2020 | HD | 36 MIN | Chinese regional dialect, Mandarin with English subtitles

Shot in Xiongan New Area in the Chinese region of Hebei, A Thousand-Year Stage (2020) features performances by local residents and migrant workers as they await the place’s slated transformation into a megacity. The film moves between Baigou Station and the construction site of “Asia’s largest train station,” Xiongan Station.

Maia Gattás Vargas

Curated by: Annie Wong

Unlike land, territory is a concept. It is a process of knowing and materializing knowledge. It is a process of power always in flux. In Viento del este (East Wind), Maia Gattás Vargas brushes against the multitude of collisions between the materiality of land and the territory of memory. Seeking her lost ancestral roots in Palestine, Maia investigates the mystery of her father’s disappearance in the Jordan River, a river that traverses Palestine and Israeli-occupied territories. The water, snow, rivers, and roses of the Patagonian landscape of her home becomes a bridge – if not surrogate textures – in recovering her family’s memory of Palestine. Navigating familial memorabilia, dreams, and bodies of water, her search leads her deeper into mystical epiphanies and existential queries of her diasporic Palestinian identity.

Traveling to the West Bank despite the trauma of Israeli occupation, Maia’s refusal to forget and her conviction to return to her homeland culminates in the moment she finds herself in the Jordan River, immersed in the deeper meaning of her ancestral name.

Please join us following the screening for a conversation between Annie Wong and Maia Gattás Vargas.

Maia Gattás Vargas

Argentina | 2023 | DIGITAL H264 | 75 MIN | Spanish with English subtitles

A glass, a sweater and a fishing trophy– these are the objects Maia inherited from her father. With fragmented spaces and time, this film crosses Patagonian landscapes with the banks of the Río de la Plata, where the wind brings messages from Palestine.

Maia travels to the West Bank and among the ruins of the houses demolished by the Israeli occupation and the waters of the Jordan River, there she finds a sign from destiny in the name of her family.

SUN APR 14, 2024
2PM and 4:30PM

Innis Town Hall
2 Sussex Ave

Open Tickets Cart