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Sophie Chamas


Drifting Away: De-Occupying the Palestinian Self

Speed Sisters (2015) directed by Amber Fares

Speed Sisters, directed by Amber Fares. Palestine, 2015. “If only you’d resist the occupation with something other than sports and fashion,” complained a YouTube user in the comments section of a video about the Speed Sisters—an all-female Palestinian race-car driving team in the West Bank, and the first of its kind in the Middle East. The comment is mentioned in the documentary Speed Sisters, by filmmaker Amber Fares. The film shadows the five enthusiastic race-car ...

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Sympathy for the Devil: Palestine’s Tragic Collaborators

[Film still from Hany Abu-Assad's Omar (2013). Image copyright the filmmaker. Courtesy of Film Press Plus.]

Omar, directed by Hany Abu-Assad. Palestine, 2013. Omar, the most recent film by Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad (of Paradise Now fame), opens with a traversing of obstacles—a prefatory homage to the resilient Palestinian spirit. Exuding youthful vigor, the titular character scales the portion of the separation wall isolating his West Bank neighborhood from that of his childhood friends, his resistance brigade, and his love interest. Omar fearlessly scurries along the ...

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How to Do Things with Hair

[Rokni and Ramin Haerizadeh

How to Do Things with Hair Curated by Barrak Alzaid  thejamjar, Dubai, UAE 26 October—2 December, 2013   Curator Barrak Alzaid has been critically grappling with hair—men’s body hair, to be more precise—for years now. “I find men’s body hair compelling, and as I did studio visits over the last four years, I began to log the variety of ways in which men’s body hair, or accessories of men’s body hair, were deployed.” Alzaid recently translated this ongoing ...

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Watch, See, Feel: Kasim Abid’s Whispers of the Cities

[Film still from Kasim Abid's

Whispers of the Cities, directed by Kasim Abid. Iraq/UAE, 2013. Iraqi filmmaker Kasim Abid’s documentary Whispers of the Cities, which premiered at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in October, is the result of ten years spent observing life in the “conflict cities” of Ramallah, Baghdad, and Erbil. The director set up cameras near the windows and balconies of his apartments in the three locations in order to passively document the drudgery of day-to-day life in Erbil in 2002, ...

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Bodies Moving to Memory

[Monira Al Qadiri,

antinormanybody. Curated by Barrak Alzaid. Organized with the support of Kleio Projects & International Resource Network. June 23 – August 10, 2011. Kleio Projects: 153½ Stanton Street, New York, NY. I wandered the Lower East Side on a sweaty summer morning in search of Kleio Projects Gallery, curiously located on 153 and a half Stanton Street, feeling like a young Harry Potter on his first visit to King’s Cross Station, trying to find the peculiarly titled Platform 9 ...

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Sophie Chamas

Sophie Chamas is a freelance writer and a DPhil candidate in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford, where she works on contemporary Lebanon. Her writing has appeared in The Outpost, The State, Vice and Al Jazeera English, amongst other publications. Until recently, she was co-editor of Mashallah News, an online publishing platform for 'disoriented' news from the Middle East.