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Lecture | Teach-In Series on Palestine and Israel

Film Screening: Foragers

Monday 4 December 2023
Leiden University College The Hague
Anna van Buerenplein 301
2595 DG The Hague
LUC Auditorium

Foragers (2022) directed by Jumana Manna (1hr 5 minutes)

Foragers depicts the dramas around the practice of foraging for wild edible plants in Palestine/Israel with wry humor and a meditative pace. Shot in the Golan Heights, the Galilee and Jerusalem, it employs fiction, documentary and archival footage to portray the impact of Israeli nature protection laws on these customs. The restrictions prohibit the collection of the artichoke-like ’akkoub and za’atar (thyme), and have resulted in fines and trials for hundreds caught collecting these native plants. For Palestinians, these laws constitute an ecological veil for legislation that further alienates them from their land while Israeli state representatives insist on their scientific expertise and duty to protect. Following the plants from the wild to the kitchen, from the chases between the foragers and the nature patrol, to courtroom defenses, Foragers captures the joy and knowledge embodied in these traditions alongside their resilience to the prohibitive law. By reframing the terms and constraints of preservation, the film raises questions around the politics of extinction, namely who determines what is made extinct and what gets to live on.

A brief discussion will follow the screening.

Jumana Manna

Jumana Manna is a visual artist and filmmaker. Her work explores how power is articulated, focusing on the body, land and materiality in relation to colonial inheritances and histories of place. Through sculpture, filmmaking, and occasional writing, Manna deals with the paradoxes of preservation practices, particularly within the fields of archaeology, agriculture and law. Her practice considers the tension between the modernist traditions of categorisation and conservation and the unruly potential of ruination as an integral part of life and its regeneration. Jumana was raised in Jerusalem and lives in Berlin.

She has participated in multiple film festivals including Berlinale, Viennale, BAFICI, IFFR, Cairo Cinema Days, Goteborg film festival, Ambulante, Cinéma du Réel, Art of the Real. Her Wild Relatives (2018) won CPH:DOX’s New Visions Award, Sheffield Doc’s Environmental Film Award, DokuFest Kosovo’s Green Dox Award, and Palestine Cinema Days’ Sunbird Award. Manna’s solo exhibitions include Thirty Plumbers in the Belly, M HKA, Antwerp (2021); Tabakalera, San Sebastian, Spain (2019); The Setting of Noon, Home Works Forum 8: Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2019); A Small Big Thing, Henie Onstad Museum, Høvikodden, Oslo (2018); A Magical Substance Flows into Me, Mercer Union, Toronto (2017), Malmö Kunsthall, Malmo (2016), and Chisenhale Gallery, London (2015).

About the Teach-Ins

The Teach-In Circle is an independent initiative to organize a series of discussions where teaching and research staff of Leiden University draw on their areas of academic expertise to invite students and colleagues to learn about different aspects of the violent crisis in Palestine/Israel, its history and background, and its reverberations around the world. Participants in the network came together motivated by the observation that it has become more difficult than ever to safely have open discussion of this issue, at the very moment when it reaches an unprecedented level of televised killing, destruction, and displacement. We are alarmed by this suffering, and by the tendency of leaders of European governments and institutions to downplay or justify it. We reject any attempt to inhibit expressions of solidarity, or to silence or police lucid discussion of what many international legal experts have identified as a genocidal campaign by Israel.

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