past event

Screening: Inas Halabi, We No Longer Prefer Mountains, 2023

Thursday 11 Apr 2024

Inas Halabi, We No Longer Prefer Mountains, 2023, film still. Courtesy of the artist.

Inas Halabi, We No Longer Prefer Mountains, 2023, film still. Courtesy of the artist.

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Enjoy is pleased to host a special one night screening of We Not Longer Prefer Mountains (2023), a film by Inas Halabi.

We No Longer Prefer Mountains begins with an ascent of Mount Carmel upon which the Druze towns of Dalyet el Carmel and Isfiya are located, drawing the viewer into a world of geographic isolation and a locale shaped by coercion and control. Weaving together intimate engagements with members of the community in shared domestic spaces and outdoor environments, the film explores how the inner politics of the Druze have been reconfigured and reshaped since 1948; whilst opening up possibilities for imagining alternative futures.

"The inspiration for We No Longer Prefer Mountains stems from my father's experience as a Druze Palestinian who refused military conscription, resulting in a two-year prison sentence. The film begins with a journey up Mount Carmel, symbolising isolation and protection for a historically persecuted minority, now a site of division.

Growing up in Jerusalem, our encounters with Druze primarily occurred at Israeli checkpoints, where they often subjected us to extensive searches and harassment, despite being fellow Arabs and Palestinians. This unsettling experience underscored Israel's strategy of fostering division within the Palestinian population, exemplified by the forced military conscription imposed on the Druze community since 1956, among other measures aimed at erasing their Palestinian identity.

The film delves into the challenge of bridging the gap between the Druze and the broader indigenous community, focusing on Dalyet el Carmel's struggles under Israeli policies. It uses extended takes and panoramic shots to reveal entrenched systems of power and control within the landscape. Additionally, the narrative of the film is structured around thematic conversations, music, and radio broadcasts, utilizing reenactment and observational shooting alongside one-to-one exchanges, often spoken directly to the camera.

As the camera pans the landscape, the protagonists of the film move in subtle circular motions, inside their homes and across outdoor environments, creating a continuous movement, backwards and forward. This circularity was structurally inspired by the Druze belief in reincarnation, where the soul of the deceased is reborn in another body. While making the film, I wanted to think through reincarnation to examine how inherited trauma, memory, and colonial violence continue to be regenerated and re-lived, aiming to create a circular movement that was almost suffocating.

My main cinematic inspiration draws from the 1960s Japanese Avant Garde film movement, fûkeiron, which highlights how filming everyday surroundings can reveal oppressive landscapes and power dynamics. This approach allowed me to explore how landscapes embody colonial violence, turning them into living archives. Unlike typical fûkeiron films with fragmented voiceovers, We No Longer Prefer Mountains juxtaposes the landscape with firsthand narratives, providing a more fitting approach. Throughout the film, subtle elements like the large red and white radio tower atop Mount Carmel and billboards with Hebrew signage advertising Druze cuisine as Israeli serve as metaphors for state power and cultural appropriation.

The film was shot in two phases, disrupted by the pandemic in October 2020 and resumed in May 2021 during the Palestinian national uprising. Radio snippets recorded during the uprising were integrated into the film to link the Druze struggle to the broader Palestinian struggle. The film concludes with a descent of Mount Carmel accompanied by a song by Darbet Shams band, reflecting on the racist policies of the State of Israel.

The majority of the cast, belonging to the Druze community in occupied Palestine, bring their perspectives as a minority living under colonial conditions. I hope the audience gains a clear understanding of this reality and connects it to the broader anti-colonial struggle, envisioning a future where disruption leads to justice."

– Inas Halabi

95 min | Colour | DCP, HD | Arabic, English | Palestine, Netherlands, Belgium, UK | 2023

This event is free, however registration is encouraged.