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.
CATEGORY New Frontier Films & Performances
RUN TIME 61 min
SUBTITLES Yes with English subtitles
COMPANY Francis Alÿs studio