Kamal Aljafari

Two eloquent, poetic works by the award-winning filmmaker Kamal Aljafari, born in 1972 in Ramle, Palestine, and a graduate of the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany, explore the physical and psychic space of home and family history.

Part essayistic meditation and part family portrait, The Roof has Aljafari returning to the homes of his parents and grandmother in Ramle and Jaffa, now part of Israel. Aljafari uses elegant cinematography, unhurried rhythms, and fragmented narrative to convey how space, time and history have been moulded by politics and Israel’s institutionalized neglect. The roof of the title is an absent one, missing on the unfinished house where his family has lived since their resettlement in 1948; it functions as a place of waiting marked by constant deferral. The film has been called “as much a stylistic as a political manifesto . . .  [It] reveals not so much the meaning of an absent roof, but the architecture of identity, place, and present pasts” (Jean-Pierre Rehm).

Aljafari again draws on experience of his kin in Port of Memory, which follows his family after they receive an order to evacuate their home in Ajami, Jaffa's once-wealthy seafront neighbourhood. Without access to the means to effectively fight back, their lives, and those of other residents, are thrown into disarray. Radically poetic, and blending the gestures of everyday life with collective memory, Port of Memory is a reflection on the absurdity of being at once absent and present.

Aljafari is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

The Roof, (2006. 61 mins.)

Port of Memory (2009, 63 mins.)


Related Event!

In conjunction with this DIM screening, the March meeting of the Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society’s “Thought on Film” reading series will feature a selection of the theory that has influenced Kamal Aljafari’s practice. Tuesday, March 9 at 6:00 pm. Cineworks, 1131 Howe Street (back lane entrance).