Smoking

Images Festival: Thinking With Other People

It's perfect weather for hiding inside--so Friday night, I hit the Images Festival (on until April 11th). I went to see Lebanese director/playwright Rabih Mroue's Make Me Stop Smoking. I've never been to the Images Fest before, so I was expecting film (experimental, straight-up, video, virtual, whatever) - but Make Me Stop Smoking was much closer to Powerpoint presentation as theatre. And it was riveting.

"I have been collecting worthless material for almost ten years now, taking good care arranging it, documenting it, indexing it, and preserving it from any possible damage..." Mroue says to kick off the piece. With a tour of unfinished projects, inexplicable manhole cover obsessions, and abbreviated video footage, Mroue eloquently looks at memory, truth, and reality - using the context of the Lebanese civil war, suicide bombers, and the disappeared to frame his discourse.

Did I mention the performance was funny? It featured Mroue sitting at his laptop, with a projection screen. It shouldn't have been fantastic. But it was smart, complex, challenging - and wincingly funny. During the Q & A after the performance, Mroue beautifully explained that doing this kind of work "is a way of thinking, with other people."

For more opportunities for thinking in public, Images runs to April 11th. Some of stuff I'm looking forward to include an investigation of Zimbabwe, called The Limits of What We Know, showing Tuesday April 7th, 7pm, and British filmmaker John Smith's Hotel Diaries (a series of short videos shot in hotel rooms around the globe), showing Saturday April 11th, 3pm, both @ the Joseph Workman Theatre. Tickets available online (http://imagesfestival.com) or at the theatre.

See also: Our Images Festival Preview.

Photo by fringante on Flickr


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