Film Screening in London – 31 October

Visualising the past, rebranding the present II (10 mins)

Dir. Jessica Jacobs – UK with Zaher Al Saghir – Syria (both present at screening)

An affectionate look at the interest, and in some cases love, visitors feel towards the Old City of Damascus in Syria.

Part of the London MENA Film Festival 2012

Wednesday, October 31 at 7pm (Doors open 6.30)

Leighton House Museum

12 Holland Park Road W14 8LZ

The power of the past

Visualising the past, rebranding the present is a series of four interconnected films about tourism, heritage and identity in Syria and Jordan. Since they were made over 37,000 people have been killed in the uprising against the Assad regime. Yet it was the destruction of parts of Aleppo’s Old City last month that has caused some of the strongest emotional reactions to this conflict so far from the British public, such as an online petition to UNESCO and the posting of tourist pictures of the Old City on the BBC news website.

Visualising the past, rebranding the present II is set in the Old City of Damascus, a living, breathing tableau of ancient histories, where formerly resplendent merchant courtyard houses have been restored and converted into restaurants and boutique hotels. In a dusty corner of this ancient world, if we turn down an alleyway, just past the Omayyad mosque, we find a antique shop and art gallery run by Zaher, a young Syrian whose family own a string of shops in the Old City. Here, as we sip our tea and listen to a neighbouring musician play the oud, we meet some of Zaher’s customers and begin to discover what draws them to this city. Among them is a Texan doctor searching for an encounter, a Dutch postwoman clutching her Lonely Planet guide, a Sky TV cameraman coming for a wedding and two ex-US soldiers, returning to take an Arabic language programme with ‘diplomatic’ passports.

Jessica Jacobs is a geographer at QMUL who uses film as a research method and for publications. For more information contact Jessica 07931590427 @rebrandlevant


~ by Jason Dittmer on October 23, 2012.

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