The Little Lantern
Documentary, colour, sound, 61′ (Arabic, subtitles in English)
Leading cast: Anni Høver Kanafani
Director, photography, film editing: Mario Rizzi
Screenplay: Mario Rizzi, partially adapted from The Little Lantern by Ghassan Kanafani
Producers: Mario Rizzi & Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, Luigi Pecci, Prato, IT
Sound editing: Francesca Genevois
Mix: Paolo Segat
Colour grading: Andrea Maguolo
Italian Council Production Award 2018 by the Italian Ministry of Culture
The Little Lantern tells the story of Anni Høver Kanafani, an 85-year-old Danish woman who moved to Lebanon in the 1960s for the love of the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani. Following the death of her husband, Anni Kanafani pursued his dream of justice and integration, continuing to live and work in Palestinian camps, creating kindergartens dedicated to education and childcare. The film is titled after a fairytale Ghassan Kanafani had written for his niece Lamis, a metaphorical narration of the development of a bottom-up democracy, envisioning a Palestinian spring that will break the barriers of refugee camps and overcome indifference through non-violence, dialogue, and culture. The narrative frame of the film consists of a laboratory, conceived and coordinated by the film director, in the kindergarten created by Anni Kanafani in the Burj el Barajneh refugee camp, which ended with the staging of the theatrical adaptation of Ghassan Kanafani’s fairytale – an adaptation by the film director himself – in two theaters in Beirut. The documentary style and that of the fictional story alternate as do the two narrative times, that of a painful past and a present where this pain finds its meaning.
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.