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still A Night We Held Between (Noor Abed, PS 2024)

Noor Abed - Mountains Behind Mountains

Songs and Scenes from Palestine: Noor Abed - Mountains Behind Mountains

Palestinian filmmaker Noor Abed uses her short films to study folklore’s strength as a source of knowledge. Abed creates images that underline the connection between the people and the landscape in a poetic collage of song and dance.

poster Songs and Scenes from Palestine: Noor Abed
Noor Abed (1988, Palestine/The Netherlands) works at the intersection of performance and film and is currently an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (2022 – 2024). She will talk to Eva Langerak, project manager exhibitions at Eye about her work.


  • still Our Songs Were Ready for All the Wars to Come (Noor Abed, PS 2021)

    our songs were ready for all wars to come (Noor Abed, PS 2021, 20')

    Choreographed scenes based on documented folktales from Palestine, the film aims to create a new aesthetic form to re-awaken latent stories based around water wells and their connection to communal rituals around notions of disappearance, mourning, and death. The film explores the critical stance of ‘folklore’ as a source of knowledge, and its possible connection to alternative social and representational models in Palestine. How can ‘folklore’ become a common emancipatory tool for people to overturn dominant discourses, reclaim their history and land, and rewrite reality as they know it?

    The only narration in the film is a song, which is sung by Palestinian singer Maya Khaldi. Its lyrics are a collage of different folk tales. Captured through mediums of film and sound, situated stories are archived and represented, creating a context that explores the capacity of social formation, and the possibility of recalling a memory that is capable of decentralizing images of fixity; a memory that is liberated from monuments.

  • still Penelope (Noor Abed, PS 2014)

    Penelope (Noor Abed, PS 2014, 7')

    Inspired by the Odyssey, based on Homer's epic poem from Greek Mythology, the film is based on the concept of myth; its position in history and relation to the present and the imaginary. The continuous presence of the female figure, as a representation of Penelope, unfolds the absence of the hero figure. Through the act of sewing fish, she is returning to a past memory simultaneously. The past is activated in the imagination, reinforcing through movement its dislocation from its original site. The work attempts to reflect a reality other than the one history offers. Here, myth could be seen as a collective dream and public imagination.

  • still A Night We Held Between (Noor Abed, PS 2024)

    A Night We Held Between (Noor Abed, PS 2024, 30')

    The film centres around a song found during my research at the sonic archive library of the Popular Art Center Palestine, in Ramallah, spring of 2023. The sonic archive library gathers original sounds and songs from various areas in Palestine, reserving and mapping an oral sonic history of folklore. The song used is the original recording of an old woman in her house singing what she called: song for the fighters, archived in the library as: women's songs, Um Alif and her neighbours sing from the folklore, Tarshiha, Galil, 1990.

    Moving around the song, in a labyrinth of sounds and sites, the film connects mythology to a present socio-political reality in Palestine. Filmed in ancient sites in Palestine—caves, carved holes, underground passages, and wild valleys—the land becomes our main character. The work traverses beyond the first layer of visibility, and reveals a vast, hidden world similar to the one we know, pointing to what was lost, forgotten, or unsaid.


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96 min.

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Eye on Art

Eye on Art is a programme on the intersection between film and other arts. Eye on Art keeps up with current events, with presentations on contemporary artists and programmes that coincide with important exhibitions, manifestations and Eye activities.

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still from Cloacinae Serge Onnen & Sverre Fredriksen, NL 2017)
still Penelope (Noor Abed, PS 2014)
still Our Songs Were Ready for All the Wars to Come (Noor Abed, PS 2021)
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