Talking About Trees
Featuring: Ibrahim Shaddad, Suleiman Mohamed Ibrahim, Altayeb Mahdi, Manar Al-Hilo
This elegiac, funny, meditative, but ultimately rousing documentary charts the efforts of a quartet of indefatigable ex-filmmakers - veteran members of the Sudanese Film Club - to set up a cinema in a small village in order to kickstart the industry. This takes place in 2015, when the repressive Islamic fundamentalist Omar Al-Bashir is still in power and forms of artistic impression are heavily censored and monitored, if not banned outright. While they struggle with numerous bureaucratic and logistic obstacles, the four – old pals and comrades Ibrahim, Manar, and Suleiman along with comparative newcomer Manar – reminisce and joke about their experiences under the regime, their time in exile, and their belief in the unifying communal quality of cinema. It sounds heavy-going, but the easy and infectiously amusing rapport between the compatriots makes them very agreeable company and the picture a surprisingly breezy watch. Not only a film about the healing power of art, but a stirring tribute to resilience, solidarity, and hard-forged optimism. Director Gasmelbari sprinkles tantalising glimpses of the club’s Soviet Montage and Nouvelle Vague-influenced pictures throughout.