Curator's Selection

Amit Goren, Tel Aviv

Fri, December 16, 2005
Admission: 5 €, concessions 3 €
Juliano Mer Khamis/Danniel Danniel, Arna's Children, Copyright: Promo

Makom - A Place Apart

In this virtual-digital, multi-channel, postmodern age, a need arises for the real, concrete and meaningful. A specific “place”, (”makom” in Hebrew) chosen from a personal and creative point of view, can become a revealing and enlightening fragment of reality; a filmic-artistic focus, in turn, can imbue a place with new meaning while recreating it as an experience of discovery.

Twenty Israeli artists, filmmakers and authors commissioned by producer Amit Goren, each created a five minute digital video about a place - a site or location, a zone of occurrence, one containing an event or a dramatic situation, a personal story or a memory - a place with a unique meaning for each director. The result is an inventive and varied collection of stories about places that, in their accumulation, tell a story about the human condition in Israel at the beginning of the third millennium.


Short film by Aner Preminger, 6 min., Amit Goren: Makom Project, Israel 2002, English subtitles

Palestinian Jamal Amru, incarcerated for 25 days by the General Security Service tells his story about torture and fear inside Moscovia Prison - just one of the buildings in the Russian Compound, a central Jerusalem square. The Court House is opposite the GSS’s torture basement, the State radio stations faces City Hall, a short walk from the Russian Church. On the other side of the square - a bustling commercial and nightlife quarter, and a British Mandate prison turned Museum. Israelis rush to work while Palestinians wait for a word about their relatives inside Moscovia Prison.


Documentary by Amit Goren, Israel 2003, 48 min, English subtitles

MAP, a film in six chapters, focuses on the sense of displacement and alienation pertaining to conflict, exile, deportation, and forced or voluntary migration. The film combines six narratives of identical length to form a wide-ranging collage that also includes elements of Goren's family chronicle, his personal and professional life, the plight of Palestinian refugees, anecdotes relating to the history of Israel, and a glimpse at the lives of Mongolian nomads. Alternately harmonious and dissonant, fragmented and sequential, the narratives - some occurring in the present and others featuring historical footage and news clips - offer a dreamlike kaleidoscope of images and snatches of dialogue. Goren's camera transforms defined sites like Tel Aviv, New York, Cairo, Paris, Los Angeles, the Mongolian tundra, the Golan Heights and the Jordanian-Israeli border into de-territorialized, transitory locations that tell human tales of terror, beauty, loss, indifference, cruelty, affection and intimacy. The linear construction and placement of the narratives, that are both related and independent of each other, simulate the way in which we perceive a tangled, evasive reality from subjective-subconscious perspectives, melding private and collective experience, knowledge and memory.


Kurzfilm von Meir Wigoder, 5 min., Amit Goren: Makom Project, Israel 2002, OmeU

At a national fair celebrating Israel’s “first 50 years” the majority of space, energy and resources are utilized to present the country’s military legacy. The content and style of how these are presented creates an ironic, sarcastic and troubling profile of a country that is forever at war.

Ramallah Short Cuts, Summer 2001

Short film by Suha Arraf, 5 min., Amit Goren: Makom Project, Israel 2002, English subtitles

The central street of the city of Ramallah in the occupied territories is alive 24 hours a day. Its rich and colourful human landscape encapsulates the socio-political state of the Palestinian people - their anger, sorrow, joys and the banalities of daily life, in the midst of their struggle for independence.

Arna's Children

Documentary by Juliano Mer Khamis and Danniel Danniel, Israel/Netherlands 2004, 84 min, English subtitles

The film tells the story of a theatre group that was established by Arna Mer Khamis. Arna comes from a Zionist family and in the 1950s married a Palestinian Arab, Saliba Khamis. On the West Bank, she opened an alternative education system for children whose regular life was disrupted by the Israeli occupation. The theatre group that she started engaged children from Jenin, helping them to express their everyday frustrations, anger, bitterness and fear. Arna's son Juliano, director of this film, was also one of the directors of Jenin's theatre. With his camera, he filmed the children during rehearsal periods from 1989 to 1996. Now, he goes back to see what happened to them. Yussef committed a suicide attack in Hadera in 2001, Ashraf was killed in the battle of Jenin, Alla leads a resistance group. Juliano, who today is one of the leading actors in the region, looks back in time in Jenin, trying to understand the choices made by the children he loved and worked with. Eight years ago, the theatre was closed and life became static and paralysed. Shifting back and forth in time, the film reveals the tragedy and horror of lives trapped by the circumstances of the Israeli occupation.

Total time: 147 min

Amit Goren is director, screen writer, producer, and founding member of the Israeli Documentary Forum. "As an immigrant I am intrigued by the influence of place on one's identity. How do the tactile physical aspects and attributed emotional and spiritual qualities of a place affect the perception of ones' emplacement and displacement in the world. I have been living in Israel for 21 years. Over that period of time much has happened in a country that is in a constant state of flux; yet we continue to face troubling moral questions about the continuing occupation of the Palestinians, the future of the state's final international boarders, the dangerously widening gap between the rich and the poor, and the troubling deepening rift between religious and secular Israel. It is a place inhabited by more than 120 different cultural and national origins and a variety of religious affiliations. Israeli society bears the heavy load of its numerous immigrants and minorities and their cultural differences. It carries the scars of an endless war, occupation and terrorism. Its inhabitants are in a constant dialogue with the advantages and disadvantages of the place where they chose to live. Many carry clear images of other places, other homes left behind. The understanding of one's place is therefore a vibrant issue and a live open question.The films selected for this program reveal the issues pertaining to place - a site or location, a zone of occurrence, one containing an event or a dramatic situation, a personal story or a memory - while attempting to address some of the important issues raised within Israel today." (Amit Goren)

more about Amit Goren's concept