Open City Documentary Festival

7 – 13 September 2022
in London

Al-Yad Al-Khadra (Foragers) + An Excavation

Location Bertha DocHouse, Date  Thu 08 Sep, 18:15

An Excavation

Maeve Brennan | 2022 | UK | 20’ | digital | English spoken

This new film is part of a multidisciplinary project from artist Maeve Brennan that sets out a careful study into the international traffic of looted antiquities – the focus here is on a series of 4th century BCE Italian vases discovered in a trove of seized crates at Geneva Freeport in 2014.

The vases were illegally excavated from their resting place by tomb robbers. The film centres around the unpacking and study of these artefacts by forensic archaeologists Dr Christos Tsirogiannis and Dr Vinnie Norskov. The history of these objects and their journey through the illegal trade of antiquities is unravelled through a discussion between the investigators as they position the artefacts within a wider discourse of the infiltration of organised crime networks in archaeology.

Al-Yad Al-Khadra (Foragers)

Jumana Manna | 2022 | Palestine | 65′ | digital | Arabic & Hebrew spoken, English subtitles

This new film from Palestinian artist Jumana Manna takes as its focus Palestinian resilience to Israeli legislation preventing the foraging of wild edible plants –akkoub and za’atar. Used in cooking over many centuries, the film follows these plants from earth to kitchen as a way to mark the alienation of Palestinians as they are denied historic rights of foraging.

Documentary and archival material is interwoven with constructed fictional scenes depicting encounters between elderly Palestinian foragers and Israeli nature patrol guards. These are set alongside re-enactments of courtroom defences as those charged assert their rights to the native plants and attempt to challenge Israeli control mechanisms enacted under the guise of ecological conservation. The film acts to document the preservation of an ancient tradition as new legislation acts to further suppress and erase Palestinian history and culture.


Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

In collaboration with The Mosaic Rooms.