This screening is by TIFF Wavelengths and curated by TIFF Senior Film Curator Andréa Picard, in partnership with The Vega Foundation and the Toronto Arab Film Festival.
Wavelengths welcomes Lebanese multidisciplinary artist Ali Cherri to Toronto to present his acclaimed feature debut, The Dam, which premiered at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. Cherri, who won the prestigious Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale, where he presented his video work Of Men and Gods and Mud and an attendant suite of beguiling sculptures, brings his signature vision to this powerful portrayal of a Sudanese bricklayer working near the Merowe hydroelectric dam, situated on the river Nile. A film of elemental powers and tremendous formal beauty—with the forces of water and sand conjuring more mystical dimensions—The Dam is also buoyed by the talents of newcomer Maher El Khair in the central performance bearing his name. Each night, after work, Maher furtively heads into the desert to work on a construction of his own, one whose sentience is awakened and mirrored by an uprising of the Sudanese people claiming their freedom. Shot during Sudan’s ongoing civil war, The Dam is informed not only by the events of the present, but also past wounds, and a sense of the metaphorical carrying forth of a timeless antiquity inscribed within the landscape.