In Pursuit: Short Films
In Pursuit features short films that track itineraries through forms of exile or statelessness. Works by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Bi Gan, Gelare Khoshgozaran, and Miko Revereza, center forms of furtive mobility that threaten the loss of political status–chase, evasion, urgent travel, and outlawed movement.
Artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme’s The Incidental Insurgents: The Part About the Bandits (Chapter 2) situates the genre-specific persona of the ‘outlaw’ as a figure that represents shrinking political agency. In Bi Gan’s dreamlike work The Poet and Singer, two men play at the edge of civil society in the Chinese countryside, their taboo actions blended with the characters’ surprisingly lyrical aspirations. Filmmaker Miko Revereza’s essayistic Distancing follows the artist’s choice to leave the United States after living most of his life undocumented. Gelare Khoshgozaran’s Royal Debris explores forms of exile and lost access through a speculative narrative constructed within the abandoned Iranian embassy in the United States.
The films’ inquiries into literal or metaphorical statelessness also affect their constructions (or destructions) of plot. The featured works foreground pursuit as a cinematic device that propels narrative, but also sets up ambiguous power relations between the forces behind the camera and the protagonists in front of it. The films use targeted, in-motion shots to capture a sense of escape and anxious transit. They also make use of poetic gestures, texts, and voiceovers to trouble conventions of genre and to draw attention to the ways in which the camera may appear to have its own motive. Here, mobility exists in terms of tactics and strategies, rather than in terms of the cosmopolitan freedom to travel.