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Screening of ‘They Do Not Exist’ (1974)

They Do Not Exist will be screened on the Psychic Refuge website for a restricted period, launching on Wednesday 1st September until Sunday 5th September.

Salvaged from Beirut, They Do Not Exist has only recently been made available. It is attributed to Mustafa Abu Ali who was a founder of the Palestinian Film Unit (PFU), a department of the Palestinan Liberation Organisation (PLO). After the PLO's move to Lebanon following the events of Black September (1970-71), the PFU was renamed the Palestine Cinema Institute, and Abu Ali led the department from 1973 to 1975.

Shooting under extraordinary conditions, They Do Not Exist takes its title from the remark made by former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir that the Palestinians do not exist. We watch video and archival footage of Palestinian women in the southern Lebanon Nabatia refugee camp, the narration is a girl reading a letter she penned to a fedayee.

They Do Not Exist is a stylistically unique work which demonstrates the intersection between the political and the aesthetic; Ali trained under Godard. The film only received its Palestine premiere in 2003, when a group of Palestinian artists "smuggled" the director to a makeshift cinema in his hometown of Jerusalem.

We encourage viewers to donate to Aswat, the Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms. Established in 2003 as a small group and registered in 2018 as a community-based organization, Aswat is a vibrant feminist-queer movement for sexual and gender freedoms in Palestine. They work to provide services, training, knowledge and spaces for discussion and expression for LBTQI women, teachers and school staffers, civil society activists, professional service providers and community leaders.

Donate Here

Habibi Collective is a digital archive, podcast and curatorial platform for women’s cinema from South-West Asia and North Africa (SWANA). Habibi Collective has generated an international cinema community, and has hosted numerous screening events at institutions, such as at MoMA and Sharjah Art Foundation, festivals and community spaces across the world. The podcast has welcomed guests such as Alia Shawkat and Annemarie Jacir; Habibi Collective has also hosted multiple community fundraiser events for those affected by conflict in the region. Habibi Collective also powers SHASHA, the world’s first independent streaming service for SWANA cinema. Founded in 2018 by Róisín Tapponi, she was joined in 2021 by friends and cinema workers Shahnaz Dulaimy, Reman Sadani, Louise Gholam, Bella Barkett and Nour Helou. For more, follow: @habibicollective.


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Screening of ‘They Do Not Exist’ (1974)

Habibi Collective
1-5 September 2021

The first commission in the Psychic Refuge programme is a film screening with Habibi Collective of They Do Not Exist and fundraiser for Aswat, the Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms.

They Do Not Exist will be screened on the Psychic Refuge website for a restricted period, launching on Wednesday 1st September until Sunday 5th September.

Salvaged from Beirut, They Do Not Exist has only recently been made available. It is attributed to Mustafa Abu Ali who was a founder of the Palestinian Film Unit (PFU), a department of the Palestinan Liberation Organisation (PLO). After the PLO's move to Lebanon following the events of Black September (1970-71), the PFU was renamed the Palestine Cinema Institute, and Abu Ali led the department from 1973 to 1975.

Shooting under extraordinary conditions, They Do Not Exist takes its title from the remark made by former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir that the Palestinians do not exist. We watch video and archival footage of Palestinian women in the southern Lebanon Nabatia refugee camp, the narration is a girl reading a letter she penned to a fedayee.

They Do Not Exist is a stylistically unique work which demonstrates the intersection between the political and the aesthetic; Ali trained under Godard. The film only received its Palestine premiere in 2003, when a group of Palestinian artists "smuggled" the director to a makeshift cinema in his hometown of Jerusalem.

We encourage viewers to donate to Aswat, the Palestinian Feminist Center for Gender and Sexual Freedoms. Established in 2003 as a small group and registered in 2018 as a community-based organization, Aswat is a vibrant feminist-queer movement for sexual and gender freedoms in Palestine. They work to provide services, training, knowledge and spaces for discussion and expression for LBTQI women, teachers and school staffers, civil society activists, professional service providers and community leaders.

Donate Here

Habibi Collective is a digital archive, podcast and curatorial platform for women’s cinema from South-West Asia and North Africa (SWANA). Habibi Collective has generated an international cinema community, and has hosted numerous screening events at institutions, such as at MoMA and Sharjah Art Foundation, festivals and community spaces across the world. The podcast has welcomed guests such as Alia Shawkat and Annemarie Jacir; Habibi Collective has also hosted multiple community fundraiser events for those affected by conflict in the region. Habibi Collective also powers SHASHA, the world’s first independent streaming service for SWANA cinema. Founded in 2018 by Róisín Tapponi, she was joined in 2021 by friends and cinema workers Shahnaz Dulaimy, Reman Sadani, Louise Gholam, Bella Barkett and Nour Helou. For more, follow: @habibicollective.

Part of the Psychic Refuge Commissions

  • Past Event

    Habibi Collective
    1 - 5 September 2021

    Inas Halabi
    From 26 October 2021

    Alaa Abu Asad
    From 9 November 2021

    Radio Alhara
    From 23 November

    All commissions are hosted on psychicrefuge.com

Image still from They Do Not Exist (1974)