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November 30 - December 1, 2017

Ouroboros by Basma Alsharif

Now based in Los Angeles, Basma Alsharif (b. 1983) is an artist/filmmaker born in Kuwait of Palestinian origin and raised in France, the US and the Gaza Strip. With a BFA and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Alsharif developed her practice nomadically in Chicago, Cairo, Beirut, Sharjah, Amman, the Gaza Strip and Paris. She works between cinema and installation, centering on the human condition in relation to shifting geopolitical landscapes and natural environments. Major exhibitions include the Whitney Biennial, les Rencontres d'Arles, les Modules at the Palais de Tokyo, Here and Elsewhere at the New Museum, Al Riwaq Biennial Palestine, the Berlin Documentary Forum and Manifesta 8. She received a jury prize at the Sharjah Biennial 9 and was awarded the Marcelino Botin Visual Arts grant. She is represented by Galerie Imane Farés in Paris, and her works are distributed by Video Data Bank and Arsenal.

Presented in partnership with the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and the Film Study Center, Harvard.

Special thanks: Daisy Nam—Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and Cozette Russell—Film Study Center.

Free Admission
Basma Alsharif in Person

Thursday November 30 at 6pm

Basma Alsharif: Drawing a line through the Ouroboros

Basma Alsharif presents an evening of texts, sounds, and images as references and influences for her first feature-length film Ouroboros, which screens the following evening. The event includes excerpts from Pier Paolo Pasolini's documentary Location Hunting in Palestine, a brief reading from Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli, and sounds by musician Yann Gourdon. Also included is Alsharif's short film Home Movies Gaza (2013, 24 min), in which she captures the private and public spheres of the Gaza Strip.

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$12 Special Event Tickets
Basma Alsharif in Person

Friday December 1 at 7pm


Directed by Basma Alsharif. With Diego Marcon, Neemah Abu Ghenas, Jessica Bellinger
France/Palestine/Belgium/Qatar 2017, digital video, color, 77 min. Italian, English and Chinook with English subtitles

Basma Alsharif’s first feature-length film ambitiously expands the exploration of her earlier shorts of the contested geography and history of her native Palestine. Ouroboros takes its title from the ancient Egyptian mythological symbol of a snake devouring its own tail and paradoxically signifying both self-annihilation and infinity. Paradoxical movement is also key to Alsharif’s film from its remarkable opening image, a mesmerizing and dramatically extended overhead shot of waves lapping, not against, but away from the Gaza shore. A similar reverse force mysteriously guides key sequences throughout Ouroboros, most notably a bravura and wordless Steadicam sequence of a woman returning to (or is she leaving?) a home that may or may not be her own. The question and problem of return is written everywhere across a film that refuses any kind of center or narrative destination yet is structured around unexplained symmetries between the intertwined and sundrenched territories through which it glides: Palestine, Los Angeles, the Mojave Desert, Italy and Brittany. Loosely connecting these territories is an enigmatic figure (is he a poet, a spurned lover, a friend?) who reunites with (or does he separate from?) former acquaintances. Shared by these locations as well is a sense of a deeper and partially erased history remembered and testified more expressively by the landscapes than by their inhabitants.

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