This is a tale of a slicked wedding singer from the Gaza Strip who won “Arab Idol”.
This is a tale of joy blooming from a loosely defined region where nuances are overlooked and histories are simplified through the lenses of failure, conflict, and narrow aesthetic formulas.
This is a tale of strangers in strange lands, of non-native wanderers with attitude, of individuals who navigate the chasms between cultures and don’t care anymore about what Edward Said said.
“I’m telling you, if you don’t come now and bring Viagra for your father, I’ll go shame us all.”
This is a tale of male thugs and of father tongues, of alternative imagination, of alchemical reactions, and of human intimacies.
This is a tale of dark humor and light spirit, of grooming of bodies and cars and carpets, of bifurcated gender relations, and of a “Global” South / “Middle” East / “non” West burdened with symbols and placed within the vacuums of loaded cardinal points.
This is a tale of the familiar and the foreign, and of the unapologetically vernacular.
This is a tale of sensuality.
This is a tale of cracking into the sidelines and cracking jokes.
This is the tale of Scheherazade in “One Thousand and One Nights“: a failure to amuse means kaput.
- Phil Collins, baghdad screentests, 2002. Single-channel color video, silent, 47 minutes. Courtesy Shady Lane Productions