Sunday, 17 November 2013

Poets of Protest

A number of films for Al Jazeera are made by the (now Edinburgh-based) young Iranian filmmaker, Roxana Vilk. On Wednesday 20 November, she will be presenting and discussing her work at a meeting of the Scottish Poetry Association, that will take place at the Scottish Poetry Library, Canongate, Edinburgh. Dr Mario Relich introduces her work and that of other filmmakers making films for Al Jazeera.

Poets of Protest
It may be of interest to Scottish PEN members, especially the ones who are poets themselves, that by merely clicking on 'An Jazeera: Poets of Protest', you gain access to some of the most remarkable films about contemporary poetry and poets. I'll mention two of the films.
One is about Hala Mohammed, Syrian poet exiled in Paris, and the Palestinian Mazen Maarouf, exiled in Norway. Under half an hour long, 'Hala Mohanned: Waiting for Spring', directed by Yasmin Fedda, and 'Mazen Maarouf: Hand Made', directed by Roxana Vilk, are exemplary documentary cameos of the two poets. It emerges that they are not just representatives of any political positions, though both express criticism of the Syrian regime, but primarily poets practicing their craft. They do so not only as a way of dealing with their own personally distressing situations, nor even as 'unacknowledged legislators', but because writing poetry is, in my view, the most significant part of their identities.
Unlike in most documentaries, there is no voice-over narrator in either film. The poets speak for themselves, and read their poetry on camera, and sub-titles are presented in various ingenious ways which avoid strain on the eyes. Conversations with their hosts in Paris and Norway are also highlighted. But best of all, both filmmakers, zero in on images which counterpoint the poems most lucidly. Both are British filmmakers, with Yasmin Fedda based in Newcastle, and Roxana Vilk, a young British Iranian who lives in Edinburgh. Both are filmmakers to watch.

1 comment:

write my custom paper said...

It looks like a quite interesting thing to watch with the poets reciting their own narrations. It would be a different kind of experience watching it in some other language and knowning their underlying meanings.