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Still Life
 
 

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STILL LIFE


Directed by | Diana Allan

Genre fiction  |  Length: 23mins  |  Year of production: 2005


Still Life examines the role that a series of personal photos that survived the 1948 explusions now play in the life of an elderly refugee living in exile. Said Otruk is a Palestinian refugee from Acre who now lives at the centre of the old souk in the Lebanese port town of Sidon. “This is me,” he says, gesturing to a frayed photo pasted on the window of his electrical shop. The small sepia figures in the image are gathered by a dock and the shards of light on the surface of the sea appear illuminated by what, in this dark alley in south Lebanon, seems an almost otherworldly radiance the midday sun over Acre in 1948. Said points to a few words in the top right hand corner: “al ayam thahabiyye”. “These were the golden days,” he reiterates as he turns back to his worktable. “I remember it all as if it were yesterday – I look at this photo and imagine myself there, this is life… The eye sees but the hand does not reach.” Still Life is a video portrait that examines Said's relation to these photos, not simply as souvenirs or representations, but as imprints of Palestine that for their owner, carry material traces of places and people from the past within them.