Talking About Trees, dir. Suhaib Gasmelbari, Sudan / France / Germany / Chad / Qatar 2019, 94 min., Arabic with English subtitles, PG
In this Berlin prize-winning documentary from Sudanese director Suhaib Gasmelbari, four ageing filmmakers and lifelong friends campaign to revive an old cinema.
In a campaign to address the profound lack of working movie theatres in Sudan, Ibrahim, Manar, Suleiman and Altayeb develop a plan to renovate an outdoor cinema, despite facing bureaucratic, financial and political challenges. As they navigate the renovation, the men discuss the history of Sudanese cinema, as well as their own experiences of persecution as oppositional artists. They recall their time spent in exile and dream of a Sudan in which art and intellectual thought can be free.
Foregrounding the men’s solidarity and humour in the face of ongoing crises in their home country, Talking About Trees offers a rich insight into the history of Sudanese cinema.