Filmoteka Muzeum

In a film from two years ago, Mary Koszmary (Nightmares), a young leftist activist, played here by Sławomir Sierakowski (leader of a group gathered around “Krytyka Polityczna” magazine), delivered a speech at the abandoned National Stadium in Warsaw, addressing three millions of Jews and encouraging them to come back to Poland.

The fantasy about the “Jewish Renaissance” presented in Mary Koszmary comes true in Bartana’s most recent work. The new film was made in the summer of this year, in the Warsaw district of Muranów, where a kibbutz was erected in the scale of 1:1 in the architectural style of the 1930’s. The film features extras from Israel, as well as Poles with a “Semitic look”. Bartana recalls the Zionist dream, invoking the heroic images of the strong and beautiful men and women who, despite the most unfavourable conditions, keep on building houses, cultivating land, studying, collectively bringing up children, sharing assets, and at the same time courageously fighting off enemy attacks. Bartana refers to the Homa U’Migdal (wall and tower) method applied by Jewish settlers during the Arab revolt between 1936 – 1939 during the British Mandate in Palestine. Despite the ban on annexing new territories, over fifty new settlements were built then. They were usually constructed overnight because the Ottoman law, in force at that time, prohibited the demolition of finished buildings. The hastily built kibuttzes were composed solely of two basic elements – the wall and the tower. Only later were they filled with residential buildings and remaining infrastructure. Using the propaganda language of the socialist documentary productions, Bartana further recalls the forgotten motif of alternative locations for the state of Israel considered by Zionists, such as Uganda in Africa. The reason for this political fantasy or hallucination is the ambivalent relationship towards the policy and history of the state of Israel with the multitude of conflicts and unfulfilled hopes.

Year: 2009
Duration: 15'56''
Language: Polish (english subtitles)
Source: 35 mm

© collection of Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw