Contact Print made by Abounaddara, 2021.

May 6, 2021


Fanaticism on Screen: The Fanatical Figure at the Dawn of Cinema
Zoom video conference

In conversation with Michael Allan, the Abounaddara Collective will explore a film by the Lumière brothers produced in 1897, which depicts the assassination of a French general by a "Muslim fanatic."

The Collective puts the film back on its editing table in an attempt to understand how the figure of the fanatic was constructed at the dawn of cinema. By what means was this fiction able to encounter reality?

At the Institute for Ideas and Imagination, Abounaddara is working on a film project that tells a story of Syria through cinematographic representations of the country. After filming daily life during the Syrian revolution at length, the Collective now attempts to show a historical reverse-shot, in a back-and-forth between images of the past and present.

About the speakers:

Abounaddara is a collective of Syrian filmmakers who work together under conditions of anonymity. Founded in 2010, the Collective has self-produced numerous short films and two feature films that narrate everyday life through an aesthetic that blends the codes of documentary cinema, contemporary art, and new media. The Collective has also published, in collaboration with Katarina Nitsch, a book that is an invitation to re-found the right to the image on the basis of dignity, rather than on either property rights or the right to privacy, as has been the case since the birth of photography.

Michael Allan is Associate Professor Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies at the University of Oregon, where he also serves as the editor of Comparative Literature. He is the author of In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton 2016; Recipient of the MLA Prize for a First Book) and is currently writing a book examining the travels of the Lumière brothers camera operators across North Africa and the Middle East.

Read about all the Rendez-vous talks for this semester here.


NOVEMBER 29, 2023
Possible Lives
Maria Stepanova
Entre Nous
NOVEMBER 30, 2023
Rebellious Things
Mohamed Elshahed
DECEMBER 5, 2023
“En-Chanté”: The World of Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand
part 3: Peau d’Âne
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