凯琳·威尔逊·戈尔迪:比达耶

2018年夏末,一个有五年历史的组织——支持来自叙利亚的艺术家和电影制片人——比达耶的办公室被拉向了相反的方向。大约有六打人在贝鲁特GMayMZEH附近的一个不起眼的公寓楼的顶层房间里工作,几个房间从阿拉伯形象基金会和七层楼上的餐厅Le CHIF,这是著名的,因为这是非常便宜和弹性的绅士化。外面的城市陷入了八月昏昏欲睡的睡眠:商店关门了;每个人都去度假。然而,比达耶特充满了紧张的情绪。

作为其成长中的家庭的一部分,该片的第二部电影《混乱》(2018),讲述了三名叙利亚妇女在战争和流放上的变化,其中一部分是由比达耶特资助的,刚刚获得了洛卡诺国际电影的一个主要奖项。瑞士的节日。另一部电影,Saeed al-Batal和Ghiath Ayoub的《仍在录》(2018年),是对摄影师在面对极端暴力时所扮演的角色的巧妙反思,由Bidayyat制作,由八名摄影师(其中一人被杀)四年多拍摄的450小时的片段拼凑而成,被选为影评家Wee在威尼斯电影节。(它在那里赢得了五个奖项,包括观众奖。)放映就在几天前,但其中一位导演Ayoub还没有拿到他的签证。

在一年中最繁忙的一次旅行中,办公室在最后一分钟意外地预定了他的航班,这让人焦急万分。也许是为了把所有的精力都转移到别处,巴塔尔和阿约布正在修改最后的编辑。在一间铺着低矮沙发的房间里,除了几张椅子、一张大桌子和一个超大屏幕之外,其他房间都是空的,他们周期性地扫一眼他们用粉笔在整面墙上画的、涂成黑色的精心注释的图表。一条从左上角到右下角倾斜的令人痛心的线。这代表了电影中的人物数量:在这四年里,由于乔巴的大马士革地区的空袭、杜马东部Ghuta郊区的化学袭击和巴沙尔阿萨德政权的酷刑,数量急剧减少。在这幅图下面,加上轻浮,是一系列色彩鲜艳的象形文字,象征着从事静物记录工作的人们:阿尔·巴塔尔的转动装置,阿约布的眼镜,一位编辑的化学家烧杯,雷娅·亚米沙,另一位编辑的更具威胁性的镰刀,曲台巴·巴哈姆吉,以及艺术家和电影制片人拉妮娅·斯蒂芬的一套测量尺,他是这部电影的顾问。

构成了录音的材料是从叙利亚走私出来的七个硬盘驱动器。沿途有大量的录像丢失,要么被销毁,要么被不恰当地存档。这部电影的大部分“写作”都发生在剪辑过程中,消减了许多日复一日、年复一年的时间,使叙事连贯。可以这样说,它不仅讲述了始于2011年的一场非暴力抗议运动的战争,更令人痛心的是,讲述了两个朋友赛义德和米拉德的故事。从他们自己的角度来看,他们不适合——瘦骨嶙峋、满身泥泞、长发的孩子、古怪而梦幻般的艺术学校学生,他们在一场不合理的斗争中表现得异常勤奋。影片开场后,立即让观众投入到战斗中——用武器、花言巧语、上传视频F。Ootage——但只有慢慢地揭开这两位魅力四射的年轻人的细节,他们发现自己,或者可能把自己置于极度危险之中,同时考虑到战争时期以及伟大人物形象塑造的深刻伦理,即使也令人不安,艺术家的特权,通过年龄,这样做。巴塔告诉我,在寻找将电影形象化的方法时,“我们什么都试过了。”我们在桌子上贴了几张纸。我们做了一张Excel表格。最后,我们用粉笔画出了这张图。在八月潮湿和地中海阳光灿烂的那一天,坐在一间黑漆漆的房间里,手绘着生死之轴,很难撼动一个人在那一刻活着、能笑、能做任何事情所感受到的巨大感激之重。

比达耶的故事是一个安静的故事,但它捕捉到了叙利亚电影制作在战争中发生的戏剧性转变的一些重要内容。2011年之前,该国以缓慢、笨拙、通常是辉煌的导演电影风格而闻名,几十年来,奥萨玛·穆罕默德和已故的奥马尔·阿米拉雷等持不同政见者变相磨练了这种风格。他们的政治批评是经过编码和高度复杂化的,他们的美学归功于冷战和他们在苏联一些最成熟的电影学院接受的训练。但是,正如比达耶的导演穆罕默德·阿里·阿塔西所说,并非没有对那一代人的爱,战争开始的时候,许多电影制片人都只是迷路了。“他们不知道该怎么办,”他说。事件的速度是惊人的和可变的。他们的工具和工作方法太慢了。Bidayyat的作品集中在激进分子和公民记者的第一次狂热的努力上,他们随着时间的推移和一些深思熟虑的开放式培训,现在才开始把自己视为艺术家和电影制片人,他们有超越关键的雄心壮志,如果不可否认的是,他们需要记录他们周围的事件。

“在这两位导演的背后,”阿塔西指着阿尔·巴塔尔和阿约布还在工作的房间说,“在毕达耶的背后,在这部作品的背后,是一种关于镜头的道德规范和对形象的反思。赛义德是阿拉维。吉亚斯是基督徒。他们正在破坏该政权多年来所做的一切努力。这是一个非常重要的反面形象。我们可以根据他们正在应对的形势谈论新的浪潮。但转折点是数字化的。这是这一代人最重要的共同点之一。随着阿拉伯之春和叙利亚革命,他们杀死了他们的父亲。他们工作时不看父亲。这是一个巨大的自由,也是一个巨大的混乱。我们这么做的原因之一就是为了应对这种情况。“毫不夸张地说,叙利亚战争,以及其他许多破坏性和破坏性的事情,从根本上改变了贝鲁特的性质和节奏。据人权观察称,目前有150多万叙利亚难民在黎巴嫩——一个只有400万人口的国家——将近5万来自叙利亚难民营的巴勒斯坦难民也被转移到该国。在电力、公共交通、清洁用水、垃圾收集、劳动力市场和学校等方面,这使该国的基础设施紧张到了崩溃的地步。它也带来了一些黎巴嫩人对叙利亚同胞所能想象到的最丑陋的种族主义行为。

Bidayyat是它自己的反面形象,它是一个巨大的文化丰富的例子,这可能是战争的唯一积极后果之一:一个值得在城市内部和周围受到热情欢迎的发展。Ziad Kalthoum的《水泥的味道》(2017年)——一部华丽而震撼的电影,讲述了比达耶特(Bidayyat)制作的黎巴嫩叙利亚日工的模糊处境——这部电影对贝鲁特的电影和有关贝鲁特的电影做出了重大贡献,也是贝鲁特战后重建时代的重要文件。Avo Kaprereaan的《无门之家》(2015年)将叙利亚战争的故事穿插到1915年以来阿勒颇亚美尼亚人的困境中,同时也对电影的历史表达了热烈的敬意。综合起来,这些电影提供了一个拼凑在一起的家庭、一个重新组合的社区、一个可能的国家,以及当代艺术对我们时代战争的集体努力的反应。

主要图片:Ziad Kalthoum,Taste of Cement,2017.礼貌:Bidayyat for audivision art kaelen

作者:wilson goldie kaelen

wilson goldie是一位作家,生活工作于贝鲁特、黎巴嫩和美国纽约。

乌瑞2019特写/电影叙利亚贝鲁特萨拉法塔希齐亚德卡尔图姆赛义德阿尔巴塔尔吉亚斯阿约布热情

FRIZE特稿 ARThing编译

 

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie on Bidayyat

Late in the summer of 2018, the offices of Bidayyat – a five-year-old organization supporting artists and filmmakers from Syria – were being pulled in opposite directions. About half a dozen people were working in a warren of rooms located on the top floor of an unassuming apartment building in the Beirut neighbourhood of Gemmayzeh, a few doors down from the Arab Image Foundation and seven stories above the restaurant Le Chef, which is famous for being both uncommonly cheap and resilient to gentrification. The city outside was falling into a lethargic August slumber: shops were closing; everyone was going on holiday. Bidayyat, however, was buzzing with nervous energy.

One of the films it counted as part of its growing family, Sara Fattahi’s second feature, Chaos (2018), about three Syrian women dealing with variations on war and exile – which was made, in part, with a grant from Bidayyat – had just won a major prize at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. Another film, Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub’s Still Recording (2018) – a masterful rumination on the role of the cameraman in the face of extreme violence, which was produced by Bidayyat and pieced together from 450 hours of footage shot over four years by eight cameramen, one of whom was killed – had been selected for the critics’ week at the Venice Film Festival. (It won five prizes there, including the audience award.) The screening was just days away, but one of the directors, Ayoub, had yet to receive his visa. The office was swept up in the anxieties of contingently booking his flight, last minute, in one of the busiest travelling times of the year.

Perhaps to direct all of that energy elsewhere, Al Batal and Ayoub were fiddling with the final edit. In a room lined with low couches – otherwise empty except for a few chairs, a big desk and an oversized screen – they periodically glanced at an elaborately annotated graph they had drawn in chalk across an entire wall, painted black. A harrowing line sloped down from the upper left corner to the lower right. This represented the number of characters in the film: a number dramatically reduced over those four years by air strikes in the Damascene district of Jobar, chemical attacks in the Eastern Ghouta suburb of Douma and torture by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Below the graph, adding levity, was a series of colourful glyphs, symbolizing the people who worked on Still Recording: turning gears for Al Batal, spectacles for Ayoub, a chemist’s beaker for one editor, Raya Yamisha, a more menacing scythe for another, Qutaiba Barhamji, and a set of measuring scales for the artist and filmmaker Rania Stephan, who served as an advisor on the film.

saeed_al_batal_and_ghiath_ayoub_still_recording_2018._courtesy_bidayyat_for_audiovisual_art

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie on Bidayyat - 凯琳·威尔逊·戈尔迪在比达耶

Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub, Still Recording, 2018. Courtesy: Bidayyat for Audiovisual Art

The material that makes up Still Recording was smuggled out of Syria on seven hard drives. Plenty of footage was lost along the way, either destroyed or inexpertly archived. Much of the ‘writing’ of the film happened during editing, whittling down so many days and years of rushes to give a narrative coherence. Loosely, it tells the story not only of the war that began as a nonviolent protest movement in 2011 but also, more poignantly, of two friends, Saeed and Milad. They are, in their own ways, misfits – skinny and bedraggled kids with long hair, eccentric and dreamy art-school students who prove to be mind-bogglingly industrious in the midst of an unconscionable struggle.

From the opening scenes, the film plunges viewers immediately into the fighting – with weapons, with rhetoric, with uploaded video footage – but only slowly unravels the details of these two deeply charismatic young men who find themselves, or maybe put themselves, in extreme danger while considering the profound ethics of image-making in times of war as well as the great, if also discomforting, privilege of artists, through the ages, to do so. In searching for ways to visualize the film as it was being made: ‘We tried everything,’ Al Batal told me. ‘We had pieces of paper taped on a table. We made an Excel sheet. Finally, we just mapped it out with chalk.’ Al Batal and Ayoub looked at each other and laughed. On that day of splendid August humidity and Mediterranean sunshine, sitting in a darkened room with its hand-drawn axes of life and death, it was hard to shake the tremendous weight of gratitude one felt simply for being alive in that moment, capable of laughter, and able to make anything at all.

ziad_kalthoum_taste_of_cement_2017._courtesy_bidayyat_for_audiovisual_art

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie on Bidayyat - 凯琳·威尔逊·戈尔迪在比达耶

Ziad Kalthoum, Taste of Cement, 2017. Courtesy: Bidayyat for Audiovisual Art

The story of Bidayyat is a quiet one but it captures something essential about the dramatic shift in Syrian filmmaking that occurred with the war. Before 2011, the country was known for a slow, lumbering, often-brilliant style of auteur cinema that had been honed over decades by dissidents in disguise –  such as Ossama Mohammed and the late Omar Amiralay. Their political critique was coded and highly sophisticated, their aesthetic indebted to the cold war and their training undertaken in some of the Soviet Union’s most established film institutes. But, as Bidayyat’s director Mohammad Ali Atassi puts it, not without love for that generation, many of those filmmakers were simply lost when the war began. ‘They didn’t know what to do,’ he said. The pace of events was breakneck and mutable. Their tools and working methods were too slow. The work of Bidayyat focuses on the first, frenetic efforts of activists and citizen journalists who, with time and some thoughtfully open-ended training, are only now beginning to see themselves as artists and filmmakers in their own right, with ambitions beyond the crucial, if also undeniably compulsive, need to document events all around them.

‘Behind these two directors,’ Atassi told me, gesturing to the room where Al Batal and Ayoub were still working, ‘behind Bidayyat, behind this work, is an ethics about footage and a reflection on the image. Saeed is Alawi. Ghiath is Christian. They are undoing all of what the regime tried to do for years. This is a very important counterimage. We can speak about a new wave in terms of the situation they are responding to. But the turning point is digital. This is one of the most important common points among this generation. With the Arab spring and the revolution in Syria, they killed their fathers. They work without looking to their fathers. This is a huge freedom, but also a huge chaos. One of the reasons we do the work we do is in response to this situation.’

It’s no exaggeration to say that the war in Syria, among so many other things damaging and destructive, has fundamentally changed the nature and rhythm of Beirut. According to Human Rights Watch, there are now thought to be more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon – a country of just 4 million – and close to 50,000 Palestinian refugees from camps in Syria have also moved into the country. In terms of electricity, public transport, access to clean water, rubbish collection, the labour market and schools, this has strained the country’s infrastructure to breaking point. It has also brought out some of the ugliest acts of racism imaginable among the Lebanese against their Syrian brethren. Bidayyat is its own counterimage, an example of the tremendous cultural enrichment that may be one of the only positive consequences of the war: a development worthy of the warm enthusiasm with which it has been met, in and around the city. Ziad Kalthoum’s Taste of Cement (2017) – a gorgeous and jolting film on the ambiguous conditions of Syrian day labourers in Lebanon, which was also produced by Bidayyat – is a major contribution to the cinema of and about Beirut and a vital document of the city’s own postwar reconstruction era. Avo Kaprealian’s Houses Without Doors (2015) threads the story of the Syrian war into the plight of Armenians in Aleppo since 1915, while also paying lively homage to the history of film. Taken together, these films offer a picture of a pieced-together family, a reassembled community, a possible country, and the response of contemporary art, as a collective effort, to the wars of our time.

Main Image: Ziad Kalthoum, Taste of Cement, 2017. Courtesy: Bidayyat for Audiovisual Art

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Kaelen Wilson-Goldie is a writer based between Beirut, Lebanon, and New York, USA.

 


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