Perpetual Recurrences

Perpetual Recurrences

Four decades of filmmaking in and about Palestine come together in this montage by Reem Shilleh. Rather than curating a program of entire films, she brings together a selection of scenes in this documentary. It tracks repetition in films by militant filmmakers from the Palestinian revolutionary period 1968–82 and in more contemporary films, including work by Basma Alsharif, Masao Adachi & Koji Wakamatsu, Johan van der Keuken, and Michel Khleifi, among others.


“I consider myself as an interventionist who asks questions: What is memory? What are historical narratives? How are they established? How do they survive? [...] I was interested in the Palestinian struggle between 1967 and 1982. It was a turning point in global politics. People were joining the struggle, a lot of filmmakers emerged, especially in the seventies. It was all about radical politics, a certain way to affiliate themselves to the struggle. [...] They created their own images. They made films about themselves. But there was a certain pattern that was created, recreated, about what was Palestinian resistance. It established a memory. But I wanted to dig through to see what is left today. [...] I did a lot of research and the first thing that caught my attention was the repetition of scenes from one movie to another. Something in these scenes holds together. One of the first themes I spotted was the classroom. You would be surprised to see how many Palestinian films about the revolution are set in a classroom. The editing work condenses the theme in order to make the obvious more obvious.”

Reem Shilleh1

UPDATED ON 28.03.2023