2 – 4 p.m.
OPERATION ATROPOS (59 min., video, 2006), by Coco Fusco, is a documentary about interrogation and POW resistance training. Director Coco Fusco worked with retired U.S. Army interrogators who subjected her group of women students to immersive simulations of POW experiences in order to show them what hostile interrogations can be like and how members of the U.S. military are taught to resist them. The group of interrogators is called Team Delta, and they regularly offer intensive courses that they call “Authentic Military Experiences” to civilians. The documentary includes interviews with the interrogators that shed light on how they read personalities, evaluate an interrogatee’s reliability, and use the imposition of physical and mental stress strategically. More fundamentally, however, the film shows how interrogators rationalize what they do and how they imagine both themselves and their enemies.
LOST (3:48, Video, 2006), by Jeanne Finely and John Muse, combines a segment of an audio diary by Chaplin Major Eric Olson with a single evolving shot of a former military base where dense fog obscures and reveals details of the landscape. The original video footage reframes the moral ambiguities of the diary segment that chronicles the shooting of an Iraqi during a house raid by American soldiers and their efforts to assist the Iraqi’s widow.
FORBIDDEN TO WANDER (35 mins., video, 2003) by Susan Youssef, chronicles the experiences of a 25-year-old Arab American Christian woman traveling on her own in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the summer of 2002. The film is a reflection on the complexity of Palestinian existence and torturously disturbing “ordinariness” of living under constant curfew. The film’s title reflects this, as the Arabic words used to describe the imposed curfew “mane’ tajawwul” literally translate as “forbidden to wander.” The video is also the journey of personal discovery for the filmmaker, the wanderer who falls in love with a Palestinian man in Gaza. At a historical moment when the American media, both for and against the Israeli occupation, regularly reduces Palestinian experiences to images of children throwing rocks at armed soldiers, Forbidden to Wander provides an opportunity for audiences to see Palestinians as three-dimensional human beings with interests and dreams that exceed, but are also compromised by, the conditions in which they live.
HEADLINES: BOMB PARTS (3 min, 16mm transferred to video, 2007) by Sabine Gruffat. This film was made from The New York Times newspaper articles. The semi – automated animation process resulted in sentence recombinations that sometimes made sense while randomly emphasizing certain words and images.
MOHAMED YOUSRY: A LIFE STANDS STILL (20:00 min, video, 2006) by Mary Billyou and Annelisse Fifi. A short documentary about Mohamed Yousry, a naturalized American citizen who’s life changed radically after September 11, 2001. Mohamed immigrated to the United States in 1980. For the next twenty years, he developed a full and happy life, as a husband, father, and academic. On September 13, 2001 Mohamed was approached by the FBI on his doorstep in Queens, NY. Currently, Mohamed is appealing his prison sentence and waiting to find out what his fate will bring.
SUMMER RAIN (4:00 min, HD video, 2007) by Brandon Jourdan and Francisca Caporali. Through images of empty and destroyed cities, the video shows the aftermath of the 33-day Israeli war in Lebanon in 2006, when people emerged to find their homes and lives destroyed. After years of attempting to rebuild from the attacks of the eighties, Lebanon was once again in rubble. Many of the suburbs south of Beirut, the Bekaa area, the northern coastline, and many of the villages in South Lebanon were leveled by Israeli bombardment. The damage caused by the destruction of factories, energy plants, bridges, and roads affected all of Lebanon. The cost of repair is in the billions.