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|| UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2009-2010
Seminar: 1 December 2009 (Chair: Dr Saeed Talajooy, more ... )
Intergeneric Translation: Silencing Our Witnesses : the power of new migrant narratives | the films of Tina Gharvi
A screening and discussion of
Silencing Our Witnesses : the power of new migrant narratives | the films of Tina Gharvi
The Last of the Dictionary Men
Documentary, 33 Minutes (2008)
Ali in Wonderland
Feature, Sections (2009)
The Last of the Dictionary Men : [Documentary, 33 Minutes (2008)]
This is part of a multi-faceted project exploring the histories of the Yemeni community in South Shields. The North East boasts a proud maritime heritage that has all but disappeared from today’s landscape along the River Tyne. Within this heritage lies a remarkable Middle Eastern connection, South Shields is the Land of the Arabs! Over the course of 100 years, thousands of seamen from Yemen settled in the small town of South Shields, made it their home and successfully integrated into UK society. But now only 13 seafarers survive – they are the Last of the Dictionary Men, as people from Yemen are called in the Middle East. The filmmaker Tina Gharavi & photographer Youssef Nabil and the local Yemeni community have been involved in a race against time to preserve their history.
Over the course of 3 years, the team has worked closely with these seamen, bringing their stories to life and capturing the heritage of the oldest settled, Arab and Muslim community in Britain. This is an inspiring story on many levels. The film shows how strikes and industrial unrest in the 1930s ended with hundreds of Yemeni men from Tyneside serving at sea during the Second World War. More than 700 never returned. Since then, the area has witnessed events as diverse as the little-know (or long-forgotten) wedding of Muhammad Ali at the local mosque, while more recently, David Palmer, a Yemeni-British footballer had a high-profile trial with Chelsea Football Club!
Ali in Wonderland: [Feature, Sections (2009)]
Tina will show us sections from this film and discuss the work that went into its production.
Ali in Wonderland is a coming-of-age story of teenagers, Ali and Nasrine, asylum seekers from Iran, who begin a journey of self-discovery as soon as they arrive in the UK. Seen primarily through the eyes of Nasrine, the pair attempts to build a new life for themselves, but discover that the community they have ended up in is not exactly welcoming them with open arms. When the parents subsequently join them, cultures collide, and family tensions mount as it becomes increasing clear that the father, now dependent on his children, is losing control over his family. In this black comedy, they deal with conflict from both within the family dynamics and the clash of ideology and cultural identity with their new environment. Nasrine seeks to gain her own independence and self-determination while Ali begins to discover his sexuality. All reaches a head when tragic events befall a family who are just trying to survive. This is a rite of passage story set in the context of the modern day asylum seeker experience.
- Zohreh T. Sulivan (ed.), Exiled Memories: stories of Iranian Diaspora , ( Temple University press 2001)
- Haideh Moghissi, ‘Away from Home: Iranian Women, Displacement Cultural Resistance and Change’, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Vol. 30, 1999.
Tina Gharavi is an Iranian-American filmmaker, screenwriter and educationalist teaching film and digital media at the University of New Castle. Her films focus on the veracity of the image in fiction and documentary and deal with a variety of subjects, including migration, multiculturalism, integration, gender and belonging. Closer, a docu/fiction portrait of a young woman, was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001, as well as IDFA in Amsterdam. Mother/Country about returning to Iran after 23 years was commissioned by Channel Four in the UK and was awarded the Grand Prize at the Tongues on Fire: Asian Women Film Festival at the ICA in March 2005. The Last of the Dictionary Men is explores the histories of the Yemeni community in South Shields. She has also completed a feature film, Ali in Wonderland, about Iranians living in Tyneside (naturally, a black comedy).
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