Two screenings took place this week of world films followed by specialist talks. On Wednesday 5 June we were treated to Wajib, a bittersweet drama in which a father and his estranged son travel around Nazareth to hand deliver his daughter’s wedding invitations as per local Palestinian custom. Wajib, which loosely translates as ‘social duty’, comes from path-breaking Palestinian writer-director Annemarie Jacir. It was accompanied by a talk from Dr Maryam Ghorbankarimi, Lecturer in Film Practice at Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts. Maryam explored the way in which films of a stateless nation can nevertheless come together to create the concept of a national cinema. She spoke lucidly about the friction between the traditional and the modern, parents and children, locals and exiles - and also about the subtle representation of many different cultures in one city-scape.
On Thursday 6 June we watched El botón de nacar (The Pearl Button). This stunning documentary by Patricio Guzmán explored Chile’s history and extensive Pacific coastline - framing its abundant water as an intermediary between Earth and the cosmos, the past and present and the living and the dead. The film was followed by a lecture by Dr Nicola Runciman, a specialist in Latin American film from the University of Manchester. She examined the way in which the film combined the intense beauty of the Chilean landscape with the memory of the violence enacted against its indigenous populations.
“Wonderful to have two great examples of world cinema shown here in the Dales, with the extra benefit of a speaker and discussion after each one”.
“I didn’t know about the wiping out of the native tribes of southern Chile, which was the story of The Pearl Button, and I didn’t think the familiar Palestine/Israel problem could be portrayed in such a fresh way, as it was in Wajib. The films and the talks were really stimulating, and to experience them communally was great” .
Huge thanks to Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (Roger Stott Community Grants), Upper Dales Area Partnership and to Swaledale Festival for their support.