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MOOZ – on moving images and audiovisual arts


Jelena Ilic 
2020, 3:39 min., b/w, sound 
2020, 3:39 min., b/w, sound (Euphrates) 
Direction, screenplay, and editing:  Jelena Ilic
Main performer: Jabbar Abdullah
Dancers: Ivan Strelkin, Carla Gesthuisen, Elisa Kühnl, Linda Schefferski, Vivien Kovarbasic
Director of photography: Martin Paret
Assistant director:  Ronida Alsino
Camera operator:  Nikola Pejcic
Grip: Markus Loy
Grading: Ewald Hentze
Sound mixing: Judith Nordbrock
Music: Simon Brinkmann
Production: Academy of Media Arts Cologne in cooperation with Amnesty Köln 

Euphrat  (Euphrates) 

“We grab two spray cans and write on the wall: ‘For a life in freedom! The revolution is our right!’”
Words against injustice.
So begin the recollections spoken by a male voice telling of a time full of hope that has since passed.
“It’s a great feeling to see these words against injustice.”
Backlit black-and-white images, gentle movements, hands, arms, a curtain (director of photography: Martin Paret). Touches tender, gentle, peaceful. We do not know to whom the hands and arms belong. We watch how they touch, touches and movements that express a longing. A longing for freedom?
But the story, the account, the narration speaks of other things: soldiers, betrayal, cold, escape, thirst. The memories of millions of people are bombarded.
Arms and hands touch each other gently.
Image and sound contradict and yet merge fully with each other, pulling the viewers along into the past and into these memories, to innocent times. Longing.
Toward the inviolability of human dignity. But the dignity of human beings is not inviolable. It is vulnerable, it is fragile.

“My memories carry me to a distant past. How good the bread used to smell that my mother would bring us … these mornings, their calm, their freshness. I miss the conversations with my mother.”

In the film Euphrat (Euphrates) by Jelena Ilic (direction, screenplay, and editing) we follow the life of Jabbar Abdullah. We follow his escape from Aleppo, Syria—from the Euphrates to the Rhine. Soon the voice gets a face, a body. A person gazes back at us as viewers. Jabbar Abdullah tells us a story and shares his memories.

“I like Cologne. I’m at the Euphrates. I’m at the Rhine. I merge with it. I live here and want to continue living here.”

There it is again—hope. And Jelena Ilic achieves this in three minutes and 39 seconds, through the intensive interplay of the layers of image and sound, in the way Jabbar Abdullah’s story of his escape and his hope in his home country becomes our story, becomes the story of thousands of people, or something close to this. Nothing is past and yet everything is memory.

From the disappearance and the merging with water and the current, for only therein lies hope: the dignity of human beings is inviolable.

The film originated from Prof. Lars Büchel’s and Gerrit Lucas’s seminar “Social Spot I.”

Prof. Ulrike Franke

Jelena Ilic lives and works as a director in Cologne, where she studied at the Academy of Media Arts until 2021. Her film Euphrat is part of the AG Kurzfilm catalogue, has been screened at numerous film festivals, and has been recognized with awards nationally and internationally. She is a mentee in the Into The Wild Mentoring program and a grant recipient of the Filmbüro NW. Her thesis film Kein Etwas was funded by the BKM.

At present, she is working on her debut film Eine Krankheit wie ein Gedicht, which is co-produced by the ZDF Kleines Fernsehspiel and funded by the Kuratorium deutscher Film, the BKM, MDM, as well as the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. In parallel, she is developing her first feature-length film Mönet (AT) in collaboration with Cécil Joyce Röski. 



MOOZ—on  moving images and audiovisual arts—is a virtual place for artistic projects of the Academy of Media Arts, known also far beyond the KHM. The platform for close-up views of projects and productions of different time periods, works with the principle of reflection: MOOZ mirrors the complex sequences and formats, and reflects back into the virtual spaces what has not yet been perceived or what has just been produced. MOOZ also changes perspective: It's not just about looking at and in the predominantly short, audiovisual forms and discoveries about vlog, found footage, essay film, documentary and performative formats, abstract and experimental, installative arrangements, but with which lens, which focus, which zoom the moving image works look back on the equally different and polyphonic world of the users.

The reflection principle of MOOZ can also be understood programmatically: because each project is reflected by a different voice who thinks with the artistic work, directs a specific focus on it and stimulates the viewer to make their own projections.


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