2020, Thu, Aug 06

Shaihu Umar | Black Desert

D: Adamu Halilu, Nigeria 1976, 143 min, OV with English subtitles | D: Stefan Römer, Germany 2007, 2 min, OV no dialogue

Shaihu Umar, film still | Source: Arsenal

Shaihu Umar, film still | Source: Arsenal

Shaihu Umar

D: Adamu Halilu, Nigeria 1976, 143 min, OV with English subtitles

Set in northern Nigeria towards the end of the 19th century, Shaihu Umar starts with a discussion between Islamic students and their teacher Shaihu Umar. Asked about his origins, Umar begins to tell his story: His trials and tribulations are marked by slavery, and he is put to any number of tests until he finally becomes the adopted son of his Arabic master Abdulkarim. He attends Koran School and is made an imam upon reaching adulthood. Following a particular dream, he resolves to search for his mother. Adamu Halilu filmed Shaihu Umar in Hausa in 1976. The film is based on the eponymous 1955 novella by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, prime minister of Nigeria from 1957 to 1966. (Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, abridged)

Black Desert

D: Stefan Römer, Germany 2007, 2 min, OV no dialogue

In a Samuel Beckett kind of scene people walk silently in a black desert. A minimalistic sketch of (anti-)social life. All paradigms of the ideal artistic space of the White Cube are missing: the stage is the amorphous black desert. Also, the state of consciousness is inverted: instead of a determined and explicit representation a dark-minded disbelief of the self and failed communication dominate the scene – speechlessly they pass each other. In the deregulated zone of the Black Desert all artists are in permanent competition with each other. The economics of capital make life wither. Market laws squeeze the blood out of flexibilized humans and their deregulated bodies.