AVI MOGRABI - BETWEEN FENCES (2016)
Avi’s latest film, Between Fences, marks something of a departure from his previous work. As he has recently commented: "It was then the first time I made a film "with", not "on". It was the first time I was making a film that was not antagonistic. My initial approach was not, as before, to fight with someone or against something, but to work with, seeking an empathic and friendly collaboration." The empathic collaboration here is with a shifting group of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers who are caught in a stateless limbo inside the confines of Isreal’s Holot detention centre. In a move that reflects a growing use of theatrical techniques in documentary film, Avi collaborates with Chen Alon, a practitioner of the methods of the Theatre of the Oppressed developed by the Brazilian, Augusto Boal. These methods inform Avi’s film in that the spontaneity of collective and open creativity that marks the Boalian method is reflected in the structure of the film that manages to broach wider political issues without imposing a voice or form. The outcome, we feel, is always at one remove from what we are seeing and not the least of these is how a desire to be expressed can, when practiced collectively, be both complex and liberating.