The term essay film is sometimes used a bit too easily, but this really is one - and it isn’t an easy one. Skillfully cut and pasted from existing film material, the film provides a complex picture of Palestine. The la...展开nd that is not a land, but does have inhabitants. An improbable place for love.
The foundation of Palestine has a long and difficult history, characterised by a continuing battle for the right to exist. In this cinematographic essay, entirely composed of found-footage material, the history of a land without land is sketched, with its painful relationship with its neighbour Israel.
Epic scenes from features, iconic news footage of historic moments, the ever-changing map of Israel, video art by Velcrow Ripper, Elle Flanders and Dani Leventhal, but also very personal recordings of everyday survival, are linked together by the psychoanalytic reflections of filmmaker Mike Cartmell, based on his own painful personal history. From his background as an adopted child, he wonders when you become someone, and how society can emerge from individuals; he compares the functioning of a complex society with that of John Coltrane’s jazz combo, in which even five super-egos managed to achieve harmony. In Mike Hoolboom’s view of Palestine, love and violence exist side-by-side, as a matter of course.
Programmer Note by Gertjan Zuilhof:
Mike Hoolboom has developed over the years and by making many found-footage films into a master in the genre. Possibly the greatest found-footage master of the era.
He exploits his unparalleled virtuosity to make moving collages of sound and vision. Visuals from very different sources, from very different eras, from various genres (from newsreel to features) are placed apparently effortlessly in a new context.
Hoolboom's films are complex. On a visual level, they are sometimes inimitably complex. They may tend towards the hermetic.
It is possible that a film like this may not reveal itself in a single viewing. This is often regarded as criticism. If you can’t understand it straight away, then the film has a problem. But in this case I think that the viewer should look closer to home, at himself. A film festival is usually not the best place to see a film for the second time, but in this case the effort could prove most rewarding.