Recognised for multidisciplinary work that initiates cross-cultural dialogues, Yto Barrada is restaging the Cinémathèque de Tanger, an independent cinema that the artist founded in the Moroccan city, to our flagship building in New York.
Alongside Barrada's hand-dyed textiles and wooden sculptures of Tangier's past and present cinema houses, this temporary movie theatre will present ten films from the last fifty years that the Cinémathèque curated from its program and collection.
In addition to the day of film screenings, Yto Barrada will host an evening event in the exhibition on Friday, Nov 15 featuring Moroccan food and additional screenings. To RSVP, please visit the event page.
In 2004, Yto Barrada returned to her hometown of Tangier, Morocco. With a group of fellow artists, she launched an artist-run nonprofit to save Cinema Rif, a fading cultural and architectural landmark, transforming its 1930s building into the home of a new institution: the Cinémathèque de Tanger, North Africa's first cinema cultural centre.
Tangier and its context had changed dramatically since Barrada's childhood, when Moroccans could cross the Strait of Gibraltar just as freely as their European neighbours. In the aftermath of Europe's creation of a common border and the 9/11 attacks, access to Europe gradually tightened for North Africans. Meanwhile cheap satellite TV dishes and DVD players delivering seductive images of Europe drove the closure of independent movie theatres across the region while luring thousands of Moroccans to emigrate to Europe illegally. The Cinémathèque was Barrada's response to this context of growing isolation and cultural impoverishment.
Located on the Grand Socco plaza, the Cinémathèque de Tanger has been a vibrant cultural hub for the past twelve years. It encompasses a movie theatre with two screening rooms, where the public can discover the rich film history of the region and the world beyond, as well as a film archive, library, and lively café. Featuring acclaimed Middle Eastern and North African films, it also offers a curated selection of classic, international art house movies and recent festival hits, thereby acting as a platform for cross-cultural dialogue that resonates with Tangier's long history as a gateway between continents. Screenings at the Cinémathèque are regularly complemented by film and arts workshops; master classes; world-class concerts and plays; and special events for local people of all ages, especially women's groups and children.
By restoring the cinema's colonial-era Art Deco building in collaboration with architect Jean-Marc Lalo, Barrada and her partners also played a key role in the city's cultural renaissance, raising its global profile while continuously engaging the local community with its own history, architectural patrimony, and collective memory. Since 2012, the Cinémathèque has thrived under the leadership of Executive Director Malika Chaghal and Director Mohamed Sido Lansari.
Beyond contributing to North Africa's art infrastructure, the Cinémathèque has also increased international awareness of North African and Middle Eastern film by curating programs at renowned cultural institutions around the world, including the Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, Walker Art Center, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
We are thrilled to host this 'satellite Cinémathèque de Tanger' in our new flagship building in New York. Alongside Barrada's hand-dyed textiles and wooden sculptures of Tangier's past and present cinema houses, this temporary movie theatre will present ten films from the last fifty years that the Cinémathèque curated from its program and collection.
For this Pace Live event, all films will be presented in digital format.
Six et Douze (Six and Twelve)
Ahmed Bouanani, 1968
Legendary Moroccan auteur Ahmed Bouanani's Six and Twelve is a study of the changing light of Casablanca between the hours of six AM and noon.
Foire de Tanger (The Tangier Fair)
Chosen from the Cinémathèque's collection of home movies, found footage, and institutional films on Tangier, Foire de Tanger depicts the city's port, fair, tourism office, and town beach as they were in 1970.
An American in Tangier
Mohamed Ulad-Mohand, 1993
English, Arabic, and French with French subtitles, 27 min
The first film of Mohamed Ulad-Mohand, this documentary-fiction is set to the music of American composer and writer Paul Bowles and mixes archival footage with shots of Bowles reenacting his dreams and talking about his sixty years living in Tangier.
Todos Vós Sodes Capitáns (You Are All Captains)
Olivier Laxe, 2008
Arabic, Spanish, French with English subtitles, 78 min
When Laxe moved to Tangier in 2004, he developed Dao Byed (White Light), a filmmaking workshop for children at risk, in collaboration with the Cinémathèque and local non-profit Darna. Between a documentary and fictional story, this film came out of this workshop and shows how the director's unorthodox methods caused his relationship with the children to disintegrate.
The Tangier 8
Jem Cohen, Luc Sante, Peter Gizzi, Natalia Almada, Carla Faesler, Ivan Boccara, Akram Zaatari, and Liliane Guiraudon, 2009
English, Spanish, French, and Arabic with English subtitles, 41 min
In June 2009, Tamaas, an international non-profit arts organisation, invited eight poets and filmmakers from Morocco and other countries to the Cinémathèque. Forming four poet-filmmaker pairs, they created four experimental 'film-poems' drawing inspiration from the city of Tangier. The films are Threshold Songs by Peter Gizzi and Natalia Almada; Road Marine by Carla Faesler and Ivan Boccara; Les Arabes aiments les chats (Arabs Love Cats) by Akram Zaatari and Liliane Guiraudon; and Le Bled (Backcountry) by Jem Cohen and Luc Sante.
Sean Gullette, 2011
Arabic with English subtitles, 31 min
This short film follows the lives of an all-girl punk band as they illicitly shoot their first music video on the streets of Tangier by night. Traitors was commissioned as part of the Sharjah Biennial 10.
Yto Barrada, 2011
English, 15 min
Barrada excavates her family history to tell the story of sixteen 'myths'-unverifiable stories based on unreliable narrators and illustrated with the home movies of strangers as well as Moroccan archival films from the last half-century.
A Guide to Trees For Governors and Gardeners
Yto Barrada, 2014
This film puts viewers inside Barrada's mechanical model diorama, Gran Royal Turismo, in which a convoy of official limousines endlessly drives through a shabby North African town.
Le Park (The Park)
Randa Maroufi, 2015
French and Arabic with English subtitles, 14 min
In a series of tableaux, the camera explores an abandoned amusement park in Casablanca, following the youngsters who have made this site their own.
The Last Paradise
Sido Lansari, 2019
French with English subtitles, 16 min
This is the almost-true story of Sami, a young gay man who works in a Casablanca hair salon where he dreams about dance and Egyptian divas. Mixing archival images and photographs, Lansari follows Sami into his life of exile in Paris, a city with changing attitudes toward homosexuality that Sami navigates with the help of his lover, Daniel.
Press release courtesy Pace Gallery.