“Who Will Sing Folk Songs?”: The Film Musical in Nine Variations

“[A Magical Substance Flows into Me] is sketched in epic proportions and restrained style … Manna’s work reminds us we still have nature, history, and human desire, and the many stories they tell about the possibilities of resilience.”

Media Farzin, Frieze

Jumana Manna’s brilliantly structured nonfiction feature is a clear path through the mazelike boundaries of the past. At first, the 1930s radio work of German ethnomusicologist Robert Lachmann appears to be Manna’s blueprint. Lachmann, intrigued by the many cultures in what he called Palestine’s neutral background,” recorded a series of programs, each focused on a branch of local or Indigenous music. Manna retraces his steps, meeting Arabs, Kurds, Moroccans, Bedouin, and Yemenite Jews, presenting them with Lachmann’s recordings, then staging a current rendition. The talent of the artists and the erudition of each group’s knowledge keepers are on open display, but it’s Manna’s editing across unsettled time that sets this work apart. Manna knows that culture is often a vanguard of illusionism and imperialism; her intervention, an act of repatriation and preservation, is staked on specifics, and moulded to defy any assumptions about the limits of Palestinian memory.

In English, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles

While almost always premised on extensive research, Manna’s work never feels leaden, instead operating within a remarkably deft and contemporary framework that employs cinematic means to challenge established orders.”

Jesse Cumming, Cinema Scope

Manna does more than reflect on the limits of the Orientalist archive … She creates an alternative historical narrative that bypasses the national, religious, and ethnic divisions that national archives carefully guard and constitute.”

Gil Hochberg, author of Becoming Palestine: Toward an Archival Imagination of the Future
Media

Upcoming in this Series

  • Hole 2
  • The Hole
  • Taiwan/France1998
  • Tsai Ming-liang
  • 95 35mm
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Une Chambre Un Ville 3
  • Une chambre en ville
  • aka A Room in Town
  • France1982
  • Jacques Demy
  • 93 DCP
  • PG
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Magical Substance Flows Into Me 1
  • A Magical Substance Flows into Me
  • Palestine/Germany/United Kingdom2016
  • Jumana Manna
  • 66 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • West Indies 1
  • West Indies: The Fugitive Slaves of Liberty
  • West Indies, ou Les nègres marrons de la liberté
  • Algeria/Mauritania/France1979
  • Med Hondo
  • 116 DCP
  • PG
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Disciple 1
  • The Disciple
  • India2020
  • Chaitanya Tamhane
  • 128 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Dancer In The Dark 1
  • Dancer in the Dark
  • Denmark/Sweden/France/Iceland2000
  • Lars Von Trier
  • 140 35mm
  • 14A
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • All About Lily Chou Chou 5
  • All About Lily Chou-Chou
  • リリイ・シュシュのすべて
  • Japan2001
  • Iwai Shunji
  • 146 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Red Psalm 2
  • Red Psalm
  • Még kér a nép
  • Hungary1971
  • Miklós Jancsó
  • 84 DCP
  • NR
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations
  • Golden Eighties 10
  • Golden Eighties
  • Belgium/France/Switzerland1986
  • Chantal Akerman
  • 96 DCP
  • PG
  • The Film Musical in Nine Variations