Thursday 23.5. / 8 pm / Dokukino KIC

Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory

Mohanad Yaqubi (Subversive Film), Palestine, France, Jordan, Lebanon, USA, UK, 2015, 62'

“For people who suffer from invisibility, the camera would be their weapon.”
Elias Sanbar

In an age dominated by the moving image, imagine if you never had the opportunity to see the place you come from on film? The Palestinian Film Archive contained more than a hundred films depicting the daily survival and struggle of the Palestinian people, but it was destroyed in 1982 during the Israeli siege of Beirut. Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory is a meditation on the Palestinian people’s struggle to produce an image and self-representation on their own terms in the 1960s and 1970s, with the establishment of the Palestine Film Unit as part of the PLO. Unearthing films stored and forgotten in archives across the world after an unprecedented research and access, the film begins with popular representations of modern Palestine and traces the works of militant filmmakers in reclaiming image and narrative through revolutionary and militant cinema. In resurrecting a forgotten memory of struggle, Off Frame reanimates what is within the frame, but also weaves a critical reflection by looking for what is outside it, or what is off frame.

Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory traces the fragments of a revolution, interlacing images of a dream for freedom. The film’s negatives are spliced into one feverish timeline, capturing what is before the camera while simultaneously suggesting what is missing from its cadre. By weaving a story of people in search of their own image, it brings the past — and present, not without its daily horrors — into focus.

Paralleling Third Cinema, the Palestine Film Unit was established as part of the PLO in the 1960s. (It has since evolved into the Palestinian Cinema Institute.) Between 1968 and 1982, the Palestinian Revolution has collaborated with filmmakers, actors, and activists from Syria, Lebanon, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, Argentina, and elsewhere, and has built partnerships with institutions in Berlin, Moscow, Baghdad, and Havana. Despite the prolific output of this movement, very few of its works remain.

For the outside world, these militant films represented a model of a people in struggle, explaining who they were fighting against and why. But for Palestinians, the films marked a transformation of their identities: from refugees to freedom fighters. This remarkable debut from Mohanad Yaqubi is an essayistic battle — between dream and reality, fiction and propaganda — for the representation of a people who have been resisting their oppression (which, according to Amnesty International, amounts to apartheid) for millennia. As history is recorded, Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory connects the borders of the past to the present, from the river to the sea.

Awards and festivals:

TIFF (2016) – world premiere; Berlinale Forum Expanded (2017); Cinema du Reel (2017); New Horizons IFF (2017); Dubai IFF (2016); Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (2017); Viennale (2017); Museum of the Moving Image (2017); 12a Mostra Mundo Árabe de Cinema (2017)


Mohanad Yaqubi born in Kuwait 1981 for a Palestinian father and Syrian mother, he grows up on memories of the destruction of his hometown Al-Majdal, a city that was ethnically cleansed from by the Zionist forces in 1948, forcing his family to reside at an UNRWA Refugee camp in Gaza. Yaqubi is a filmmaker, producer and one of the founders of Idioms Film, an Arthouse production based in Ramallah since 2004, he is also a member of Subversive Film, a curatorial collective that seeks to research and redistribute militant cinema from Palestine and beyond. He is a resident researcher at KASK school of the Arts, Ghent since 2017.