Al Araba Al Madfuna III, 2015

Based on extensive periods of research and enquiry, the work of Wael Shawky (born 1971, Egypt) tackles notions of national, religious and artistic identity through film, performance and storytelling.

This film (23 mins) is one of three titled Al Araba Al Madfuna (meaning ‘buried cart’) after a village in Egypt where shamans urged inhabitants to dig underground tunnels, revealing a network of ancient temples and Pharaonic treasures. Acted by children who have been dubbed in classical Arabic with adult voices, the layering of history and narratives over many centuries creates sensations of wonder, alienation and estrangement, exacerbated by the film’s production in negative, which further highlights the protagonists’ role reversals.

This is the third and final film in Shawky’s Al Araba Al Madfuna trilogy and is being shown in London for the first time, following a screening  of the first two films at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2013.