Akram Zaatari, A Conversation with an Imagined Israeli Filmmaker Named Avi Mograbi

Akram Zaatari, Conversation with an Imagined Israeli Filmmaker Named Avi Mograbi

It is said that Akram Zaatari met Avi Mograbi twice in Aubervilliers in 2010. It is said that the two spent a bit more than a week talking and sharing experiences, stories, photographs, and films. It is said that they spent four hours watching Godard’s Notre Musique, that they played table tennis, and that their only disagreement was around the personal life of Roman Polanski. It is said that they talked to a small audience about “the Enemy,” and that Zaatari invited Mograbi to leave Israel and come live in Lebanon."

In April 2010, during his residency at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, Akram Zaatari attempted to write, improvise, and deliver a conversation with an imagined Israeli filmmaker, giving him the name Avi Mograbi. In this conversation, Zaatari revisits photographs he made in his teenage years during the Israeli occupation of his hometown, Saida, in 1982, and imagines what an Israeli filmmaker could have experienced in the same period. Zaatari draws on an idea that comes from the filmmaker Avi Mograbi, who invented the character of a Palestinian producer in his film Happy Birthday Mr. Mograbi, played by Palestinian producer Daoud Kuttab himself. This text sheds light on the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, and the complexity of its recent history, of drafting borders, mobility of individuals, and the concept of “the Enemy,” while simultaneously questioning what it means to be a documentary filmmaker today.

French and English versions: 56 pages, 170 x 220 mm, color, 2012. Design: Marc Touitou. Retail price: 12€ / Postage fees: 3€

Co-published with Blackjack éditions, Sternberg Press, Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers. With support from the Kadist Art Foundation  and from the Centre national des arts plastiques (aide à l’édition), ministère de la Culture et de la Communication