We were absent from public consciousness, media and [the] press. From the outset, our struggle for survival would clearly be linked to our visibility, with being seen and recognized. Quoting Palestinian writer and historian Elias Sanbar, Mohanad Yaqubi, the director of Off Frame, had this to sayabout the origins of his project: For people who suffer from invisibility, the camera would be their weapon. Using found footage, Off Frame is a self-portrait of an invisible nation, a record of its struggle for identity and an image that has radically evolved. While digging through archives from a number of countries, Yaqubi uncovered forgotten material from 1968-1982, when the Palestine Film Unitwas operating as part of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The salvaged fragments reveal propaganda, documentary footage, and pure fantasy, from which emerges a story of refugees who turn into militants, and the future Palestinian project is hammered out. That future is our present, and Yaqubi juxtaposes an imagined victory with a reality that is much different.
Resistance is a way of life, a mechanism, and a perspective...
From my previous life as a mechanical engineer, i learned that objects can't move if there is no resistance, a car for example, can't move forward if it was in space, there is no friction with ground, air, there is no gravity, all factors that makes engine power useful are eliminated, resistance are the factors that will allow the car to move. a car moves steady and safely when there is a balance between the power and the resistance, if the power is stronger than the restrains, the ride will be bumpy and can lead to accidents, and if the restrains were very strong, we will never arrive, in the mechanical terms, we call the regulator between the engine and the wheels the Gear, and in real life, we call it politics, keeping the rhetoric, cinema is then the information panel in front of the eyes of the person driving, it tells you the story of great power being restrained by forces of resistance, you follow on the screen the progress of the journey while going up and down, the Temp. meter is getting high, the fuel meter is getting low, will our hero going to make it?
of course if you are not driving, you will have another narrative, your eyes will be looking at a different screen, that tells you another story but with the same structure of the car moving, in human terms, there are many restrains that don't allow us as individuals and communities to move in the speed we want, cinema and arts helps us think of these restrains, wither it is poverty, social injustice, oppression, traumas, viscous desires to power, and it should be in the mind of every creator of visual content, that their images are monitors of our progress as humans, our failures, our memories and hopes...
Mohanad Yaqubi is a Palestinian director, producer, and curator. He is also a lecturer at the International Art Academy in Ramallah and the co-founder of the curatorial collective Subversive Film, which deals with political cinema and guerrilla films. He has made a number of short films and produced several documentaries and feature films, including Infiltrators (dir. Khaled Jarrar), Though I Know the River is Dry (dir. Omar R. Hamilton, nominated for a European Film Award in 2013), and Suspended Time (a collection of nine films summarizing 20 years of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO).
2017 Off Frame: rewolucja aż do zwycięstwa / Off Frame aka Revolution Until Victory