Twin Cities Arab Film Festival 2023

Archives and Secrets (Shorts Segment)

Expired October 2, 2023 5:00 AM
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Archives allow us to glimpse the past, and they provide integral information for contemporary viewers and researchers to understand and convey stories that might not otherwise be available. But fragments from the past also provide rich commentary on our present, as they interrupt our view of the world, often reshaping and redefining our most deeply rooted ideas. The short films in this segment stitch together archives and secrets––in the form of documents, images, and plants––sharing both personal and collective memories from the past to reimagine the present and future.

Originally built in 1904, the Haskell building was designed as a symbol of unity between Canada and the US and is one of the only cross-border theaters in the world. Anyone can enter unchecked and, though a thick black line runs through the entire building, once inside, the border all but disappears. Filmed on location to activate the legal and symbolic potential of the site, 45th Parallel unfolds as a monologue in five acts, performed by the acclaimed filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel. The story centers on Hernández vs. Mesa, a judicial case covering the fatal 2010 shooting of an unarmed fifteen-year-old Mexican national by a US Border Patrol agent. At the supreme court, Mesa’s bullet, which crossed the US/Mexico border, began to implicate missiles fired in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Libya. If this murder could be tried in the US, so could the 91,340 drone strikes. Each act of the monologue is demarcated by a scenographic change in the hand-painted backdrop on the Opera House stage.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    15 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United Kingdom
  • Director
    Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Screenwriter
    Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Cast
    Mahdi Fleifel