In Between or The Ethics of the Aesthetics of Absence

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Conference Session

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In a joint interview, shortly after the release of In Between (2016), writer director Maysaloun Hamoud and lead actress Mouna Hawa proclaimed that the primary aim behind the production of the film was to render visible the otherwise invisible lives of young Palestinian women residing in Tel Aviv-Jaffa — an unclassifiable group which forms a minority within a minority within a minority. Beyond the immediate relevance that Hamoud and Hawa’s observations present for a cultural reading of the minoritarian disposition of the film’s narrative, the disparity between the Hebrew (לא פה, לא שם/Not Here, Not There) and English (In Between) translations of the original Arabic title (بار بحر/Land Sea), foregrounds the ontological dilemma of space and place, and as such, calls for the elaboration of a minor critique, one which engages the very materiality of the text. By what means can a minority relegated to an existence that is not here and not there be represented? and, what is the ethical import of representations which seek to grapple with the overdetermined givenness of despotic images, such as those of nationalism, patriarchy, and religious belief? These challenges take center stage in recent works of both Israeli and Palestinian women filmmakers. While circumstances and contexts vary, the undercurrents which populate the aesthetic fabric of such films point to to the emergence of previously unthought collective assemblages of enunciation.


Brown University Gender in Israeli and Palestinian Film Symposium


Providence, RI


College of Communication and Design


Two-day symposium, sponsored by the Program in Judaic Studies and cosponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies of Brown University, will take place in Providence, RI, February, 9-10, 2020. It will bring together scholars and filmmakers to present emerging scholarship and practices in film and film studies on themes of gender as well as intersectional concerns.

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