Friday, 13 October 2017, 24:00 | midnight

#88: Mario Rizzi

Mario Rizzi dedicates his films to individual lives that are marked by sometimes dramatic political or social circumstances. He focuses on individuals’ ability to survive and live with dignity.

Impermanent, 2007, 15 min
Ali Akilah was a two-time Palestinian refugee, in 1948 and in 1967. He was born and lived in Lifta, the Palestinian village whose area today corresponds to West and North Jerusalem. He graduated in Medicine in Beirut and worked as a doctor in Haifa until 1948. At the moment of filming, he was 96 years old and lived in Amman.  He recalls personal memories of decisive moments in his life. His evocative words, both delicate and charismatic, are infused with a sense of uprootedness and permanent impermanence.

Akilah’s memories are an invaluable instrument to raise consciousness and improve the reading of the present by the firsthand recollections of an eye-witness in his own voice. They are genuine poetry and oral history at the same time.

Murat ve Ismail, 2005, 58 min
The film Murat ve Ismail is focused on a single family-run shoemaker’s shop in the Istanbul’s neighborhood of Beyoğlu and depicts two lives, the father (Ismail) and his son (Murat), caught up in the economic transformations ripping through Istanbul. As the nature of the relationship between them gradually emerges, we are introduced to other characters that visit the shop and try in different ways to take advantage of their difficult economic situation.
«The film needs to be seen as a narrative from beginning to end. It has some of the appearances of a recording of reality, but its drama and emotional perception are almost too intimate to be true, pushing us to question where the border between fact and fiction is drawn.» (Charles Esche)


Mario Rizzi (born1962 in Barletta, Italy) is an Italian artist and filmmaker living in Berlin. His films consider the notions of border, particularly in relation to issues of identity and belonging, and deal with the life of social outsiders, concentrating on collective memories and individual stories, often forgotten or untold. In the last 20 years his films and photographs were mainly focused on the Middle East and on the theme of migration.

His works were shown in art institutions and film festivals, including a recent solo show in Galerie Wedding, Berlin (“Bare Lives”, 2017), the Tunisian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), “We Refugees” in Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2016); “Istanbul.  Passion, Joy, Fury” in MAXXI Museum, Rome (2015); “Where are the Arabs?” in MoMA PS1, New York (2014); “Signs Taken in Wonder” in MAK, Vienna and Kunstverein Hannover (2013); “Be(com)ing Dutch” in Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2008); the 6th Taipei Biennial (2008); “This Day”, Tate Modern, London (2007); the 9th Istanbul Biennial (2005); and the 14th Sydney Biennale (2004).

In 2012 Rizzi won the Production Program Award of the Sharjah Art Foundation, in 2005 the Best Artist Prize at the 7th Sharjah Biennial, in 2004 the Mulliqi Prize in Kosovo.  His films were selected for the official competition of the Berlin Film Festival (2008 and 2013), for the Ankara International Film Festival (2015 and 2016) and the Dubai International Film Festival in 2013. In 2016 he was a member of the jury at the Duhok 4th International Film Festival in Iraqi Kurdistan and at the 27th Ankara International Film Festival in Turkey.

His work is in prestigious public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.