• Sunday, Feb 28, 2021
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Naeem Mohaiemen's Tripoli Cancelled to screen at Bengal Shilpalay

  • Published at 05:35 pm February 6th, 2020
Turner Prize nominated film, Tripoli Cancelled
Scene from the Turner Prize nominated film, Tripoli Cancelled Courtesy

The film is shot in Ellinikon Airport in Greece (built 1969, closed 2001), designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen

Academic and artist NaeemMohaiemen's Turner Prize nominated film, Tripoli Cancelled (2017) will be screened at Bengal Shilpalay from Thursday. 

Bengal Foundation and Bengal Arts Program will be showcasing the film on the second floor of Bengal Shilpalay till   March 28. 

On Thursday at 6pm, NaeemMohaiemen will attend a discussion session with TanzimWahab (Chief Curator, Bengal Foundation), SeutySabur (Dept of Economics and Social Sciences, BRAC University), and ManoshChowdhury (Dept of Anthropology, Jahangirnagar University). 

NaeemMohaiemen told the Dhaka Tribune Showtime: "The original script was written in English, and then improvised on location in Athens with Greek-Iranian actor VassilisKoukalani. Behind the dialogue was the memory of a strangely intense event when my father was stranded for nine days in Athens Airport; from that came an alternate reality where he never leaves (and maybe doesn't want to)."

"When translating the script back to Bengali for the Dhaka premiere, I worked with Jaya Ghosh in Kolkata and ManoshChowdhury in Dhaka. In the process, we discoveredagain the liquid pleasure of humor and longing in Bangla, as compared to the distant feel that English can have at times."

Tripoli Cancelled

NaeemMohaiemen is sensitive to social changes, as well as the political climate of the world, which is often reflected through his works. 

Similarly, in the film we see a lonely man who follows a daily routine of smoking, writing letters, and reading from a children’s book. His home for the last decade has been an abandoned airport. But is he a prisoner or a king? There are no guards or fences, only mannequins in uniform, an empty airplane, and the Boney M song “Rivers of Babylon.”

The film was shot in Ellinikon Airport in Greece (built 1969, closed 2001), designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen. 

The script is inspired by the experience of Naeem’s father, who was trapped in this same airport for nine days in 1977, after losing his passport in India.

The film features a vanished modernist architecture, and a script inspired by the writings of AfsanChowdhury, Hannah Arendt, and Giorgio Agamben. The role of the character developed  based on  Mohaiemen’s father is performed by Greek-Iranian actor VassilisKoukalani.

Tripoli Cancelled was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2018. 

Interested ones can watch the film at 4 pm and 6:30pm respectively. 

The project is curated by Bengal Foundation Chief Curator TanzimWahab, assisted by AbirShome, PriyankaChowdhury, SadiaMariumRupa, SarwarJahanShanto, and the team at Bengal Shilpalay.

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