CLAW MACHINE (Greece, 2023)
Subtitles English, Greek, Italian, French
Duration 14 min
Duration 14 min
Production year 2023
Oliver Omar Salameh
Claw Machine is the story of an immersion into the experience of being uprooted. Fragments and words. The unspoken, the indescribable. Memory shaken. Eyes closed. The city is under siege. Drift towards the unknown. The dilemma: resistance or migration? Mediterranean voyages of no return.
Claw Machine est le conte d'une immersion dans l'expérience d'être déracinée. Des fragments et des mots. Des non-dits, l'indescriptible. Une mémoire ébranlée. La ville assiégée. Des yeux fermés. Dérive vers l'inconnu. Le dilemme: résistance ou migration? Voyages Méditerranéen sans retour.
Το Claw Machine είναι η ιστορία της βύθισης στο βίωμα του ξεριζωμού. Θραύσματα και λέξεις. Το ανείπωτο, το μη περιγράψιμο. Η μνήμη κλονίζεται. Η πόλη πολιορκείται. Τα μάτια κλείνουν. Η φυγή προς το άγνωστο. Το δίλημμα είναι: αντίσταση ή μετανάστευση; Μεσογειακά ταξίδια χωρίς επιστροφή.
Claw Machine è il cunto dell'immersione nell'esperienza di essere sradicati. Frammenti e parole. Il non detto, l'indescrivibile. Memoria scossa. Città sotto assedio. Occhi chiusi. Alla deriva verso l'ignoto. Il dilemma: resistenza o migrazione? Viaggi mediterranei di non ritorno.
.هي حكاية الانغماس في تجربة الاقتلاع. شظايا وكلمات. ما لا يُقال ولا يوصف. ذاكرةٌ مضطربة. المدينة المحاصرة
.الانجراف نحو المجهول. المعضلة: مقاومة أم هجرة؟ رحلات البحر الأبيض المتوسط ذهابٌ بلا عودة
Claw Machine is a collaboration with Andrea Kantos, Sicilian visual artist and with Yousif Latif Jaralla, an Iraqi narrator/poet (hakawati/حكواتي).
This endeavor starts in 2009 with the pretext of the numerous wars in the Middle East (Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza). The first script and sketches took form in Palermo while I was living there, we worked frenetically until May 2010. But the project was suddenly put on halt, remained incomplete, and ended up laying in my drawers for the next ten years.
In February 2020 I went back to Palermo for the exhibition of the body of work LET US STOP AND WEEP as a narrative-based participatory performance, at Eglise. I met again with Andrea and Yousif and we decided to pick up on Claw Machine from where we had left it and complete the work to be included as an opening screening for the performance. Since March 2020, through the COVID epidemic, we managed to work mostly online and produce many other scenes, new sketches and a full storyboard. In parallel we fine-tuned with Yousif the text for the voice over. The approach to making this film was that of a documentary essay, and the result is a handmade animation tale.
The film was completed in March 2023 with a co-production funding from the Greek national TV ERT.
Like other chapters from LET US STOP AND WEEP (Nabil & Corni, Asnam, Hafez from Anfeh, Red Poker…) Claw Machine has evolved into an autonomous one. It is now both a movie and an installation video for a narrative based performance.
It is primarily rooted in past personal experiences during the Lebanese civil war (1975 -1989) and the repeated bombardment of the Beirut periphery I grew up in, that lead to my family's migration. It also summarizes a collection of stories and interviews I did with refugees who arrived in Greece (2016-2017), escaping recent civil wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. And then sketches after sketches, it becomes an allegory of the long History of uprooting in the Mediterranean.
All this research and effort to collect those stories around this experience is just an attempt to capture the deafening silence that engulfs a city and its people, their unheard screams and their silent terror, before fading voluntarily into the sounds of their flight and the sea waves.
Premio assegnato a CLAW MACHINE di Georges Salameh. Tutti gli elementi che compongono la storia sono perfettamente integrati tra loro, consentendo allo spettatore di immergersi e immedesimarsi in uno dei temi più attuali e urgenti della storia contemporanea: i flussi migratori nel Mar Mediterraneo. Le fredde e stilizzate animazioni in bianco e nero, la voce narrante tremante e rovinosa, la colonna sonora metallica e incalzante, formano un meraviglioso e perturbante documentario poetico, attraverso cui lo spettatore è in grado di immedesimarsi nella solitudine e nell’angoscia di chi racconta.
Qobeyat film festival had the pleasure to announce CLAW MACHINE as the winner.
The film was voted winner unanimously by the jury.
We were touched by its simplicity, honesty, by its “no compromise” approach and by the fact that everyone in our tortured part of the world was able to see his own city, his own war and hear someone who understood that the decision of each one of us to stay or leave was a painful one. We also, from a production point of view, appreciated that so much was done with a low budget.
Drama International Short film festival (Drama, Greece, Sept. 2023)
INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION COMPETITION