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Radical Closure, Program 4: Intensive Care

Named after Hatice Güleryüz’s haunting short film, with its disturbing yet iconic images, this program presents unsettling situations narrated with both considerable emotional investment and critical distance. In her work Intensive Care, Güleryüz films a boy’s circumcision, then tilt’s up to the boy’s silent, angelic face. In another work, The First Ones, she films a group of school children singing the national anthem; a take on nationalism made with so much love. Marwa Arsanios’ I’ve Heard Stories reconstructs an incident that happened, or maybe didn’t, in the mythical Hotel Carlton. Mahmoud Hojeij takes a humorous look at the few hours he and his Lebanese friend spent with two Israeli men in Paris, evoking years of wars, occupation and division between the two countries. I, Soldier presents a poetic portrait of a soldier, while at the same time embodying a silent critique of nationalism, patriotism, and defense. Finally, Elia Suleiman looks at the role film has played in the Arab/Israeli conflict, and evokes the futility of rising nationalist and religious identities in a war situation.

# Title Artists Run Time Year Country
1 Intensive Care Hatice Güleryüz 00:02:20 2001 Türkiye
2 The First Ones Hatice Güleryüz 00:04:40 2000 Türkiye
3 I've Heard Stories 1 Marwa Arsanios 00:04:42 2008 Lebanon
4 we will win Mahmoud Hojeij 00:07:30 2006 Lebanon
5 Ben Askerim (I, Soldier) Köken Ergun 00:07:14 2006 Türkiye
6 Homage by Assassination Elia Suleiman 00:27:37 1992 Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, United States

Intensive Care

Hatice Güleryüz
2001 | 00:02:20 | Türkiye | None | Color | | | Super 8 film

DESCRIPTION

The violent surgical act of a boy’s circumcision is contradicted by the peacefulness of his facial expression. Proud to join the world of men, the boy is trying his best to be brave. Yet can the passage to adulthood be that simple?

This title is only available on Radical Closure.

The First Ones

Hatice Güleryüz
2000 | 00:04:40 | Türkiye | Turkish | Color | | | Super 8 film

DESCRIPTION

The Turkish national anthem, regularly sung in schools on Mondays and Fridays, is recorded with Super-8 and video to capture the fragile links that tie young citizens to nationhood.

This title is only available on Radical Closure.

 

I've Heard Stories 1

Marwa Arsanios
2008 | 00:04:42 | Lebanon | None | Color | | |

DESCRIPTION

This short animation explores various ways to narrate an incident that once took place in the mythical Hotel Carlton. Against images of the deserted hotel today, the artist sketches situations that evoke the rumors that once circulated around the place and the people who inhabited it.

This title is only available on Radical Closure.

we will win

Mahmoud Hojeij
2006 | 00:07:30 | Lebanon | None | Color | | 4:3 |

DESCRIPTION

The filmmaker and his friend, both Lebanese, meet two Israelis their own age in Paris, and spend some playful time with them. While they play a game, they refer constantly and humorously to the war and to the frozen status quo between the two countries.

This title is only available on Radical Closure.

Ben Askerim (I, Soldier)

Köken Ergun
2006 | 00:07:14 | Türkiye | Turkish | Color | Stereo | |

DESCRIPTION

"I, Soldier is the first part of a video series in which I am dealing with the state-controlled ceremonies for the national days of the Turkish Republic. The nationalistic attributes attached to these large-scale ceremonies are underlined in a non-descriptive and almost voyeuristic point of view. I, Soldier was shot at the National Day for Youth and Sports; the day that marks the start of the independence war of the Turkish public under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, against the Allied Forces back in 1919. The annual ceremony held at the biggest stadium of each city consists of figurative dances by high school students, choreographed in a timeless socialist-realist manner. In the last decade, popular songs replaced the usual military marches, which accompanied the choreography. In this video a nationalist hip-hop song is played during the gymnastic demonstrations of the military school students backed by a stern poem from a high-ranking soldier about the virtues of “The Soldier”."

--Köken Ergun

"Köken Ergun makes a very direct but discrete visualisation of an event, an artistic commentary to the specific political context of Turkey which becomes a universal commentary on ultra-nationalism. His visual strategy enables a new reading of the surviving imagery of 20th Century state rituals."

--Videomedeja 2007 website

 Read Ian White's essay Koken Ergun: Personal works of public ceremonies. pdf

This title is also available on Radical Closure.

Homage by Assassination

Elia Suleiman
1992 | 00:27:37 | Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, United States | None | Color | | | 35mm film

DESCRIPTION

A Palestinian filmmaker is writing a script in his New York apartment during the first Gulf war. As much as he tries to shut himself off from the exterior world, images of past wars in the Middle East come back to haunt him.

This title is only available on Radical Closure.