THE DIGGER

Arabic and Pashto with English subtitles, 24’, 2015 - Produced by Sharjah Art Foundation

 

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For twenty years, Sultan Zeib Khan has kept watch over a ruined Neolithic necropolis in the Sharjah desert in the United Arab Emirates. Although majestic, the wide-angle shots have no monumentalising intent: the beauty and extent of the site speak for themselves. What is playing out here is the possibility for one man to become part of a landscape that overwhelms him yet seems to need his help. Seen under the silhouette of a rock about to devour him or as a dwarfed figure spade in hand walking from the back of the frame, Sultan curiously busies himself from day to day to prevent the ruins… from falling into ruin. Hamlet’s words in the famous gravedigger scene come to mind: “Has this fellow no feeling of his business? He sings at grave-making.” But here the human remains have long since become archaeological artefacts: the highly luminous outside sequences alternate with shots inside a museum where the bones are sorted and laid out for the visitor’s eye. The switching between day and night but also the soundscape of the man’s singing and the sound of his transistor radio suggest that even the greatest solitude can allow itself be inhabited. Above all, it underlines the paradox of these empty tombs, where death is compounded by the absence of the relics. (Charlotte Garson)

Film Trailer

 

Production Credits
Director | ALI CHERRI
Director of photography | BASSEM FAYYAD
Editing | SUZANA PEDRO
Music | PIERRE AVIAT
Sound | MIKAEL BARRE
Effects | LA RUCHE – HOËL SAINLEGER
Coloring | REZ VISUAL – BELAL HIBRI
Executive Producer | PAUL BABOUDJIAN
Associate Producer | GINGER BEIRUT PRODUCTIONS – ABLA KHOURY-LARA CHEKERDJIAN
Production Manager | JEAN PASCAL BABOUDJIAN
Production Coordinator | ARMEN GARABEDIAN
Production Runner | NISHAN LENTIAN
Assistant Camera | SATYENDER PRASAD
Focus puller | FADI AL SAMRA
Sound engineer | KARINE BASHA
Key Grip | CARLO ROBLES
Grip Assistant | AKEEL ADEL
Gaffer | JINKO SINGH
Best Boy | FIROZ KHAN
Spark | ERICSON MATE
Technical equipment and Crew Supplied by | Pro Action Media Services – Dubai
Produced by | Sharjah Art Foundation
Distribution | Galerie Imane Farès – Paris

 

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