Al Intithar (The Waiting)
Video courtesy Mario Rizzi & Sharjah Art Foundation
Al Intithar is the first film of the trilogy BAYT (HOUSE), which won the Sharjah Art Foundation Production Grant 2012. The concept of BAYT is inspired by Anthony Shadid’s (1968 – 2012) memoirs House of Stone, where he writes that “bayt translates literally as house, but its connotations resonate beyond rooms and walls, summoning longings gathered about family and home. In the Middle East, bayt is sacred. Empires fall. Nations topple. Borders may shift. Old loyalties may dissolve or, without warning, be altered. Home, whether it be structure or familiar ground, is finally the identity that does not fade.”
In Al Intithar the notion of home has become a sensitive matter in the life of the protagonists, as they had to leave their own. Home is no longer a rooted existence or a solid place for the female protagonist, Ekhlas Alhlwani, but instead becomes a tent, since she has been forced to flee from Syria to Zaatari, the refugee camp in the Jordanian desert. The film, which presents itself as an excerpt, follows her life over a period of seven weeks, translating the tragic macrocosm of the Syrian war to the intimate microcosm of a relentless woman and her three children.
Mario Rizzi, born 1962, is an Italian artist and filmmaker living in Berlin. His works have been shown in art institutions and film festivals such as the Ankara Film Festival in 2015 and 2016, the Berlin Film Festival in 2008 and 2013, and the Dubai Film Festival in 2013. Rizzi deals with broad societal phenomena through the collective memories and individual stories of social outsiders, often forgotten or untold. His films are humane portrayals of people who are left outside of the Western gaze. For twenty years, Rizzi has portrayed the Islamic world and its transformation. His films have addressed the political movements that emerged in the Middle East and North Africa in 2010. Over the past fifteen years, he has lived in Turkey for long periods, closely following its social change. His trilogy BAYT (2013 – 2019) – enabled by the Production Program Award of Sharjah Art Foundation – has been shown at the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Prato, Italy, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands, the Helsinki Art Museum and SALT Istanbul.