December 14, 2011

Out of Blue (2002)

Zarina Bhimji is an artist and filmmaker of Ugandan-Asian heritage living and working in London. She made this 16mm film for Documenta 11 (a lecture from which this Manuel De Landa post was borne). Bhimji looks to create an "architecture of the internal," haunting empty rooms and locations filled with the inference of life. Out of Blue explores violence on the periphery of war-torn Uganda. I am particularly attracted to Bhimji's use of sound: screaming insects, chants and radio broadcasts, marching feet, and burning grass provide the narrative for evocative, almost still, images of destruction. But while war is the ultimate conclusion, life still teems and threatens to take over. The film inevitably recalls the days of Idi Amin Dada. In 1972, following a dream he had, Idi Amin expelled the entire Asian immigrant population from Uganda. Most of them were Gujarati Indians who originally settled there more than a century before. Bhimji and her family were among those given 90 days to leave or face probable genocide.

Watching this video in full screen with headphones is highly recommended.

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