Akram Zaatari, The Landing, 2019. Film, interviews, installation, single photograph. Installation view: Sharjah Biennial 14:‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation with the generous support of Barjeel Art Foundation, Elie Khoury Art Foundation, Ministry of Interior UAE and Fujifilm ME. Courtesy of the artist and Sfeir. Semler Gallery, Hamburg/ Beirut. Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation


Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation for Sharjah Biennial 14, Akram Zaatari’s feature-length film The Landing(2019) will be screened at the Forum Expanded this month as part of the 70th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale).

Directed by Zaatari and shot in Sharjah, the film takes place in Shaabiyat Al Ghurayfah, a public housing project built in the village of Al Madam in the early 1980s. In 1994, residents moved to new housing in the vicinity, leaving their old houses to be covered slowly in shifting sands. Today Shaabiyyat Al Ghurayfah looks like an ancient ruin.

Reconstituting historical narratives through sound, visuals and performances, the film features audio interviews with former residents of the area, which are interspersed throughout the soundtrack of the film. Also appearing in the film are three characters—Sharif Sehnaoui, Abed Kobeissy and Ali Hout—who are stuck in the desert. Their repertoire of simple gestures resonates with Hassan Sharif’s early performances, including Swing, Digging and Standing, and Recording Stones (all 1983), which were staged in the UAE desert outside urban centres. To accompany the characters’ movements, Zaatari employs cables, sewage pipes, tubes, shovels, kitchen tools, electric air blowers and even a helicopter landing on site for their sonic rather than narrative potential, creating refractions, confrontations and transformations in a broken narrative.

The screenings on 21 and 24 February 2020 will be followed by an open discussion with the director.

Screening schedule:

Screening 1
Friday, 21 February 2020
8:30 pm
Venue: silent green

Screening 2
Monday, 24 February 2020
10:00 pm
Venue: Arsenal 1

For more information about the screenings, visit www.berlinale.de