Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival

Programme (2020)

Talking About Trees (2020)

An occasionally humouristic depiction of four esteemed film directors’ attempts to revive cinema culture in Sudan.

“The death of cinema was not natural at all”, one of the members of the Sudanese Film Club explains. “It died suddenly.” Without pointing fingers, Gasmelbari reveals how a government controlled by Islamic fundamentalists for the past three decades resulted in the demise of an entire film industry and heritage, with only a few remaining theaters screening Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters in central Khartoum.

Using whatever means available, including a laptop and modest video projector, Shadad and his cohorts try to bring film history back to the people, hosting free screenings of classics like Chaplin’s Modern Times in town squares. Their mobile cinematheque manages to attract small crowds, many of whom have never seen a movie projection before, and the group decides to up the ante by revitalizing a huge outdoor theater that’s been deserted for years. Their hope is to show a popular but artistic work – they decide upon Tarantino’s Django Unchained – that will convince the Sudanese how important it is to be able to see good movies on the big screen.

For those who have the option of actually watching a film on the big screen yet prefer to stay glued to Netflix, Talking About Trees is a telling true story of what happens when such an option expires for good. As one Sudanese man, hopeful of attending his first public screening in a long while, explains at some point: “Seeing a movie with friends is better than watching one alone at home.” As usual, it’s only when something is gone that you realize how much you miss it.

Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

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Film Title : Talking About Trees
Language : arabia
Director : Suhaib Gasmelbari
Year : 2019
Length : 93
Age limit : S
Format : DCP
Cinematographer : Suhaib Gasmelbari
Editing : Nelly Quettier
Producer : Marie Balducchi
Production Company : AGAT Films & Cie
Title in Original Language : الحديث عن الأشجار

Screenings :
Mon 27.1. at 19.30, Maxim 2
Wed 29.1. at 17.15, Maxim 2
Sat 1.2. at 13.00, Kinopalatsi 1