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How To Act: On Stages and Storytellers

Jasmina Metwaly & Philip Rizk

The destroyer is standing before us — the caterpillar.

In collaboration with the artist/filmmaker duo Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk, Beirut presents a program of film screenings, talks, and discussions, throughout the coming weeks. The program is inspired by their ongoing research that uses as a starting point the conditions of work, labour and revolt, and which has culminated into their most recent film “Out on the Street” (2015), now in the final stages of editing and hoping to premiere in Egypt later this year. “How to Act: On Stages and Storytellers” follows a series of tangents departing from Metwaly and Rizk’s references, from classical cinematic works to the current practice of activists, artists, scholars and researchers in Egypt and elsewhere.

The program commences with anthropologist and filmmaker Mark Westmoreland, in conversation with Metwaly and Rizk; Westmoreland will feature excerpts from Peter Watkins’ “La Commune” (2000) and the filmmakers will intersperse clips from their recent production “Out on the Street” (2015), which had its world premiere at this year's Berlinale, into the discussion. A special evening will be dedicated to the screening of “La Commune” in its entirety, complete with Arabic subtitles.

Later in March, filmmaker and editor, Louly Seif, will take a closer look at the language and logic of film making, and the construction of (political) narrative through montage. Seif is also the editor of “Out on the Street”.

Anthropologist and researcher Dina Makram Ebeid, is invited to elucidate some of the social relations that emerge within the working space of the factory, particularly the paternalistic relationships that evolve between workers, speaking about the specific case of the Egyptian Iron and Steel Company in Helwan. Makram Ebeid’s talk will be coupled with a screening of Jia Zhangke's film “24 City” (2008), a film about a state-owned factory building in China’s Chengdu, which through its experimental form, explores the social relations within the workspace of a factory and its surroundings.

“How to Act: On Stages and Storytellers” is an opportunity for researchers, artists, filmmakers, film editors and theorists - as well as the avid public - to closely engage with the thought and practice that informs the field of experimental performance of opposition. Together we aim to study the roles of re-enactment, theater and film montage, as ways of telling stories about political struggles. We hope the talks, films and discussions become a site from which we can understand the rubrics of global structural failures, politically and economically, from the vantage point of the local and the singular: the family, the factory, the institution and the state.


8pm Conversation: Mark Westmoreland, documentary filmmaker and professor of Anthropology, with Philip Rizk and Jasmina Metwaly. This event will be held in English. 'La Commune' with English and Arabic subtitles.


6pm Film Screening: “La Commune” (345 min., 2000) by Peter Watkins. Film with Arabic and English subtitles.


8pm Conversation: Louly Seif and Jasmina Metwaly. An editor and a filmmaker in discussion. The event will be held in Arabic.

8pm Talk and Film Screening: The talk with Anthropologist and researcher Dina Makram Ebeid and screening of “24 City” (112 min., 2008) by Jia Zhangke. The event will be held in Arabic. '24 City' with Arabic subtitles.