Date & Time:
Thu October 20, 2022
The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
Open to the public
TAKING SHAPE: THE SUDANESE FILM GROUP SHORTS
The Sudanese Film Group formed in April 1989 with a mission statement that pledged “to uphold the enlightening role of cinema against the armies of darkness.” Comprised of cinéastes frustrated with the limitations of Sudanese state-sponsored filmmaking, they imagined a new space for creative filmmaking, film exhibition, and education. Less than three months later, a coup d’état brought a military junta to power in Sudan, ending the SFG’s dream for more than a decade. The films in this program, painstakingly restored by Berlin’s Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art, reveal the bold ingenuity and allegorical richness of a cinema nearly lost to history.
Jagdpartie (Hunting Party)
(Ibrahim Shaddad, East Germany, 1964, 40 min. In German with English subtitles)
Made as a graduation film while Shaddad was studying at Germany’s largest film school, this simmering, acutely observed short film examines gender, labor, racial tension, and mob violence in a style inspired by Hollywood westerns.
Al Dhareeh (The Tomb)
(Eltayeb Mahdi, Egypt, 1977, 17 min. In Arabic with English subtitles)
“Eltayeb Mahdi studied film in Cairo, where in 1977 he made The Tomb, a bare-bones desert parable in 16mm monochrome about a false prophet who retains a faithful following even as his fraudulence is revealed.” (Nikolaus Perneczky)
Jamal (A Camel)
(Ibrahim Shaddad, Sudan, 1981, 13 min. In Arabic with English subtitles)
A beast of burden’s life is depicted with stark visual and sonic immediacy in this poetic short film, which was commissioned by the Sudanese Department of Culture as a documentary about the traditional production of sesame oil.
Al Mahatta (The Station)
(Eltayeb Mahdi, Sudan, 1989, 15 min. In Arabic with English subtitles.)
A brilliantly edited depiction of a gas station as a crossroads of life, industry, tradition, and modernity in the Sudanese desert. Made the same year that the military coup shut down cultural production in Sudan, The Station offers a precious glimpse of the Sudanese Film Group’s radical promise.
Thanks to Berlin’s Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art for access to the restored films.
FREE & OPEN TO ALL
Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org