Marwa Arsanios, 2019, Lebanon, Kurdistan, Syria, 51 min. Click on the image to watch the film, no log-in necessary, the film will be available online until the end of the festival, June 28.
As an introduction, standing on a stony path, director Marwa Arsanios faces the camera and wonders: “What does it mean to belong to a place? What does it mean to “be here”? What does the word “nature” encompass? What does it imply when we say “we”? These political questions arise from experiments conducted by women in three war-torn places. First, in the mountains of Kurdistan, in early 2017, the guerrilla led by the Kurdish women’s autonomist movement invites us to experience and consider space, plants, survival, ecology and economic battles in a different way. The process, so we are told, ensues from practical concerns: how do you set up an organic food production cycle? When does a tree need to be cut down? Then in Jinwar, literally the “place of women”, a village in Rojava, Northern Syria, built by women for the exclusive use of women. And finally, in a cooperative in the Bekaa Valley, near the Syrian border, which has become a sanctuary-like community for refugees. In these communities, the issue of the reappropriation of the land and means of production and subsistence is paramount, and it creates a different landscape. These three eco-feminist strategies at work bring about self-governance, and the creation and transmission of knowledge. These fragile yet so precious experiments are like pages in an herbarium, featuring carefully collected and hand-drawn plants, arranged in the film like silent, up-front manifestos. (N.F. fid Marseille)