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Sandlines, the Story of History


Contemporary artist Francis Alÿs has created more than just a history of Iraq from the Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916 to the Islamic State’s influence of terror in 2016. It can rather be considered the story of history itself, as can only be portrayed by children. These children have never heard of the country of Iraq. When asked, “Where is your country?” they answer, “Here, my village of Nerkzlia,” a tiny town near Mosul, invisible on Google Maps. And so this story starts, during a time when the land was just the land and the land was for everyone, until scheming forces created a country by drawing lines in the sand.

Sandlines is a stirring, precisely composed film that draws on the power of epic desert landscapes and the unbounded jubilance of childhood. In this striking debut feature, Alÿs draws from his artistic practice—rooted in land-based movement and social practice—to craft a luminous film that basks audiences in a radiating tension between politics and poetics, as he explores the chase for oil through the lens of children facing an unknown future.

Screens with Meridian
Footage transmitted by the last unit in a fleet of autonomous machines sent to deliver an emergency vaccine. The film follows the machine before its disappearance, tracing a path that seems to stray further and further from its objective.

YEAR 2019

CATEGORY New Frontier Films & Performances


RUN TIME 61 min


SUBTITLES Yes with English subtitles

COMPANY Francis Alÿs studio

WEBSITE http://www.francisalys.com

EMAIL sandlines.film@gmail.com


Sound Editor
Production Executive
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Artist Bio

Francis Alÿs

Francis Alÿs was born in 1959 in Belgium and lives and works in Mexico City. Since 2016, Alÿs has been engaged in a series of projects in Iraq, such as Hopscotch, produced with the Yazidi refugee camp of Sharya, Iraq, and Color Matching, filmed while he was embedded with a Peshmerga battalion during the siege of Mosul. He is completing the feature film Sandlines, filmed with the children of a mountain village near Mosul.