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A man gets into a car and goes for a drive, he reaches an unexpected destination-- a courtroom awash in fiery colors, populated by people from his past. Mixing reality with fantasy, present with past, the film's multiple voices and images flicker like phantoms across the bleak landscape of memory. Unfolding as a series of identity and spatial shifts, cycling through multiple film genres (film noir, courtroom drama, road movie) but remaining faithful to none, Staged Archive has the elusive logic of a dream and the fevered mood of a suppressed memory that reemerges in nightmare form.

Background info: The film's narrative is inspired by the travelogue genre of literature that peaks during the Victorian era and continues until just before WWII. A common theme is that of missionaries and travelers voyaging to the far reaches of the globe, often with disastrous consequences. Joseph Conrad comes to mind of course but other writers have also explored the genre, including Somerset Maugham in his celebrated short story 'Rain' which centers on a missionary's suicide in the South Pacific.

The archival photos used in the film come from the National Archives of Ghana. They show images of a Mobile Cinema, a van carrying a portable 16mm projector, linen projection screen and a mini electrical generator. Mobile Cinemas were particularly favored by missionaries to project scenes from the Bible in the middle of anywhere and everywhere.


2008, Digital video (DVCPro 50), 9 min.
Directed by Maryam Jafri

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