Interview: Samira Badran, director of Memory Of The Land

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Memory of the Land is a highly engaging and challenging animation focusing on the human rights violations of Israeli-occupied Palestine. We talked with the director Samira Badran about her drive to create a film that not only offers a challenging message about oppression, but is also a powerfully creative piece of work.

The film is a sociopolitical commentary. In it, you show the struggle of a body trapped in an Israeli army checkpoint in occupied Palestine. What made you want to tell this story?

I wanted to denounce the injustice of living under the Israeli military occupation and its imposition on the conduct of everyday life.

The film is a personal reflection on some aspects of Israel’s colonisation of Palestine. I focus, above all, on expressing how the population is subjected to a military regime of apartheid where fundamental human rights are violated daily, applying a policy of racial segregation against the Palestinian population.

You use multiple media to construct a complex aesthetic. Is this your usual artistic practice?

Since I am a visual artist, I use different artistic techniques: ink & pencil drawing, collage, acrylic painting, drawing on top of photography and video, etc. Working with animation has given me the opportunity to experiment with these techniques all at once and express different emotions in relation to each situation.

Both the visuals and use of sound in Memory Of The Land carry a strong political commentary on authority and violence. What do you hope to communicate through the film? 

The climax of violence and extreme humiliation that the figure undergoes are heightened by military orders given in a made-up language. In Memory Of The Land, this represents the universal language of oppression and control that threatens her/him. This creates a sense of tension, anxiety, claustrophobia, stress, uncertainty, and arbitrary reasoning.

I based the film on the practices of the Israeli military occupation in Palestine, but my aim was also to look at the wider picture. I wanted to denounce this reality as a way of raising awareness of the violent systems of repression that unfortunately are applied in many places around the world.

The main character of the film is a pair of legs. What is the reason you chose to represent the protagonist in this way?

One of the major obstacles the Palestinian population face is the severe restriction on free movement between areas of the fragmented territory. That’s why the truncated legs are the protagonist, presenting this idea and sense of “moving on”!

Memory of the Land screens in International Competition 4: Parched Land.

Interview by Errika Zacharopoulou