LONDON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL - Recollective Resistance - Kamal Aljafari’s Port of Memory
Monday 27 January 2020, by
Aljafari’s Port of Memory is the second instalment of a three part series entitled Recollective Resistance, serving as a witness to the destruction, repopulation, and gentrification of the once thriving Palestinian port city of Jaffa – now an extension of Tel Aviv.
Using footage from imperialist–themed action films set in Jaffa, Aljafari provides us with a memoir of the everyday activities of a disappearing city that is bombarded by gentrification, re-construction and dispossession of its indigenous inhabitants.
Although Port of Memory doesn’t have a distinct storyline, it does follow a plot thread. The film quietly traces the streets of Jaffa, focusing on the seemingly mundane activities of everyday life (hand washing, the cat napping on the TV, people drinking coffee in the neighbourhood cafe) which instils a sense of normalcy in the midst of normalised colonial violence - that of the risk of eviction if Salim and his family cannot prove their ownership of their house.
Aljafari’s Port of Memory goes beyond centring Israeli state violence against the Palestinian people, he actively employs fantasy in re-imagining, re-sisting and re-organising the colonised space. As such he creates an intricate and nuanced cinematic investigation. Jaffa is represented through the layering of seventies Israeli nationalist cinema on to images of modern day Jaffa, by doing so Aljafari actively seeks to reverse the ‘cinematic occupation’ of Jaffa – the extra-zionist routes of early Israeli propaganda films.
Within its seventy minute duration, Port of Memory successfully explores the psychologically and physically violent themes of erasure, destruction, elimination and harmful gentrification as practices of Israeli colonial violence on Palestinian urban spaces.