"States of Exception" Film Screenings, New York City, Nov. 12, 2013

"States of Exception" Film Screenings, New York City, Nov. 12, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 7:00pm @ Anthology Film Archives

States of Exception, Exceptional States: The Iron Grip of Nationalism
Filmmaker and author Ariella Azoulay and writer, activist and scholar Joel Kovel will be present for a post-screening discussion moderated by Benj Gerdes, political artist, writer and activist.

The Food Chain
The Food Chain
Israel, Palestine, Syria: the unending crisis in the Middle East, unstable states caught up in a state of exception…. These films militate against the militarized state and its ideology.


Omar Amiralay (Syria, 1997, 17 min)

“The first time I heard of Israel, I was in Beirut, the conversation was about a plate of sardines. I was six years old, Israel was two.” A militant elegy, a beautifully shot meditation on history, memory, and ruin, largely framed by a conversation with fellow filmmaker Mohammed Malas, as they walk through a destroyed village.

Ariella Azoulay (Israel/USA, 2002, 17 min)

An inventive investigation of the question: Is there hunger in Palestine? leads to a disquieting conclusion: the Israeli military and government are positively nourished by the spread of humanitarian speech and ideas, which directly supports their continued aggression against Palestine. In the end the film’s title takes on a steely irony.

Yann Beauvais (France, 2006, 1 min)

A silent blast of flashing text, words in both English and French, at the point of self-destruction, hovering above what resembles the shimmery digital map visible in a war plane’s targeting screen. This intense 48 second film, bearing angry traces of Lettrist/ Situationist intransigence, was made during the 2006 Lebanon War.

Omar Amiralay (Syria, 2003, 46 min)

The deep pre-conditions that one cannot help but feel, ultimately led to the current revolt against the Assad dictatorship in Syria are explored with maximum rigor, elegance, and impact. Amiralay returns to site of his first film, the Assad dam on the Euphrates river. What he finds is little short of blood-curdling.


The contentious career of the great Syrian documentarian Omar Amiralay was set in motion when, while still in film school, he joined the protests in the streets of Paris in May 1968. Always a political dissident, Amiralay made many critical films that have been enormously influential throughout the Arab world—when not banned.

Ariella Azoulay’s work, she says, uses “images to revise political concepts — that of citizenship and sovereignty first and foremost — in order to understand Palestine in the larger global context of revolution, colonial legacy, imperialism, and of what is left over after imperialism.” Perhaps the most influential contemporary theorist of photography, as well as a filmmaker, she teaches at Brown University. She is the author of Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography, among other books.

Perhaps the major French exponent of experimental cinema, Yann Beauvais has made at least thirty films. A curator and generous critic, with a deep knowledge of the history of the experimental traditions both in Europe and the U.S., he co-founded Light Cone, the largest avant-garde cinematic archive in Europe. His most recent critical essay–on films influenced by the cinematographic propositions of Guy Debord–is available in In Situs (Gruppen). He lives and works in Recife, Brazil.


Benj Gerdes (moderator) is an artist, writer, and organizer working in film, video, and other public formats. He frequently works in collaboration with other artists, activists, and theorists, including Jennifer Hayashida. He is interested in the intersections of politics, knowledge, and popular imagination. His individual and collaborative work, which focuses on the social consequences of economic and state regimes, has been exhibited widely in both traditional venues and emerging platforms, including Kiasma Museum of Modern Art (Helsinki), Kunsthalle Exnergasse (Vienna), Guangzhou Triennial (China), Lulea Biennial (Sweden), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), REDCAT Gallery (Los Angeles), Images Festival (Toronto), Art in General, the New Museum , and Migrating Forms.

Joel Kovel’s first book, White Racism, was nominated for a National Book Award, and his tenth book, Overcoming Zionism, was banned by its distributor, the University of Michigan Press. He has been fired from two prestigious professorships, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Bard College, for his political beliefs. He has lectured on five continents, edited the journal, Capitalism Nature Socialism, and been a founder of the Ecosocialist movement, most recently, Ecosocialist Horizons.

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Flaherty NYC at Anthology Film Archives: 32 Second Ave. (@2nd St.)
Tickets on sale at the box office day of screening.