Dawn: very sweet drone shots, then when we reach the ground, a Ben Russell follow-cam in reverse (literally, Ben is the cinematographer on this), music very droney. Woman walks through fruit trees then a large house, adjusting things here and there… I get the impression she doesn’t live in the house but works there. We recede from the grounds, then Sky Hopinka reads us some words about home and place and loss.
Noon: Inside a different house, a black man sings Dixie for the mostly-white others – ah, they’re all rehearsing something. Bald neck-tattoo guy casually walks in and out of houses and conversations, nobody seems to mind him.
Dusk: Much of the movie is in reverse. We see some ouroboros drawings to remind us what we’re watching. Bald guy seems oddly peaceful for someone with the word RIOT tattooed on his wrist.
Night, then Dusk, then Noon again. Fifty minutes in, our man asks “would you like to see a magic trick” – is this the first time he’s spoken? A phantom ping-pong match is unexpected, ghostly superimpositions, Metamorphosis of Birds leaf-play, a drone in a fancy sitting room that turns out to be diegetic. The movie ends quite wonderfully with a dance remix of itself!
The official description says it “turns the destruction of Gaza into a story of heartbreak,” and says our lead guy is Diego Marcon, an ontology-questioning visual artist whose latest short played Rotterdam.
We don’t know anything more about our traveler than we did when we began, but Alsharif has provided us with a utopian conception of lived space. In cinema, perhaps, begins responsibility.
Deep Sleep (2014, Basma Alsharif)
Trancefilm, again shot with Ben Russell in Palestine and elsewhere. Footsteps, and columns, and pointing. Like the feature, it slips between locations. Picture (and sometimes sound) will have full-color flicker freakouts.