I was struck by the visual effect of a military thermal camera used in a video installation by an Irish artist Richard Mosse and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten. It anonimised and dehumanised the victims of Syrian crisis even further, stripping them of their individuality, presenting them as bodies and numbers in cold monochrome. Yet it also brought their aliveness out in an incomparable way. Sensitive to heat, this heavy-weight camera accentuates or invades the spirit of life and conflict more than any other technique could. Shots taken from great distances let us, the Western Audience, surveil the movements of people and events unfolding on the shores thousands of kilometers away from us.
I was lucky to see a selection of socio-political films from this years’ BBC Arabic Film Festival, which were screened at Oxford’s St Antony’s College: “This is Exile. Diaries of Child Refugees” and “Cairo Drive”