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Directed by | Ursula Biemann

Genre documentary  |  Length: 40mins  |  Year of production: 2008


This fascinating, highly stylised film essay explores the logic of the refugee camp as a form of extraterritoriality ruled by International Law. Over some 60 years, millions of Palestinians have created a civil life within the restricted space of the camp: a space designed as an interim solution. Biemann turns to the state of these societies to query a cluster of ideas (legal, symbolic, urban, mythological, historical) surrounding the idea of “the camp” in philosophy and jurisprudence. Engaging innovatively with the thought of Giorgio Agamben, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, and others, her piece shows the "exceptional" life compelling Palestinians to configure a distinctive, perhaps prescient, model of society and political identity that transcends (of necessity) the parameters of traditional nation states.

Biemann's film combines eye opening interviews with found and documentary footage to convey a conceptual as well as an aesthetic sense of the “conditions of exception” that describe this postnational mode of being.