“One”, A Letter to Eternity
A magic realistic mosaic tale of a personal quest and voyage of the individual roaming the rough landscape surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, with the ‘Other’ as leitmotif, one endures a many lessons to arrive at the sacred space of the alchemy of the heart; witnessing a choreographed collective procession of people and their proper magic rituals taking place, crossing dimensions of time, inspired by Egyptian- and Hellenistic influences from Antiquity to Classicism.
Following the Phoenicians’ historic maritime route, an entangling ‘Odyssean’ gaze creates yet another tale of the ‘condition humaine’. “One”, A Letter to Eternity, displays a human chain – and sculpture in time or ‘sculpted in time’, of people, over generations, in embrace – Pietà alike: A ‘living’ sculpture, where habitants of the Mediterranean co-create a lasting imprint, ‘vivid blueprint’, for eternity.
Migration is at the heart of civilisation and the cycle of perpetual and eternal change and the ‘condition humaine’. Today’s refugees are the new settlers: Carriers of Hope. This poetic quest explores compassion across the Mediterranean Sea, a love letter to diversity in an eternal arena of mankind in perpetual movement: two-way flow of exile and belonging.
Going through fierce transformations and turmoil, living in present times, evoked and told by locals living in present times, living along the Phoenicians’ historic maritime route – be their personal (his)story narrator of heroism, tragedy or the ultimate expression of love, tolerance, sorrow or compassion: A cartography of concealing, unveiling, nurturing, forgetting, remembering, healing and letting go. In the nation states of the Mediterranean basin and the hinterlands, an entangling ‘Odyssean’ gaze creates yet another tale of Land peoples and Sea peoples, journeying since centuries, in a quest for eternity.
Phoenicians, to be more exactly, existed from the 2nd millennium BCE, setting up merchant enclaves in Egypt, whereas due to artificial terminology they’re now referred to as Canaanites. Probably the alphabet itself emerged out of the invention of turquoise slave miners of Semitic descent (who could have been Jewish) in the Sinai around 1700 BCE. Which is why this view of the alphabet, as being first invented by the Phoenicians, is currently being rewritten with more nuance (source 2017, Elefteria Pappa).
Inspired by Greek tragedy, archaeology and the Phoenicians’ ancient maritime routes, connecting the Levant to South-East Europe and North-Africa, the idea and research took shape during a three month artist-in-residence at Ashkal Alwan, from March 1st – June 1st 2016, in affiliation with the Mondriaan Fund in The Netherlands.
October 2019 the Netherlands Film Fund allocated a startsubsidy for the first development phase of the hybrid filmproject “One”, A Letter to Eternity, intending to be developed and realized during the forthcoming years (2021-22-23).
Stills filmrushes, a first study ‘ A Prelude’ for ‘A Letter to Eternity’ (2016, Lebanon). Directed by Ilse Frech. Cinematography and Camera: Talal Khoury and Ilse Frech. Music: Tony Elieh and Sharif Sehnaoui.
With special thanks to Elwan, Tony alias ‘Cloudly’ and his friends, Sarah Nahas and Mahmoud Merjan in Beirut, and many dear others with whom I collaborated in order to research and to create these first filmrushes.
Stills filmrushes, study for ‘A Letter to Eternity’ (2018, Tunisia). Directed by Ilse Frech. Cinematography and Camera: Ilse Frech. Cast: Najwa Miled. Poetry: Samir Farhani.