Beirut
The Other Orange

In every caf� where we follow Choubassi on his daily tour, we spot people from the cast of his mindbreaking documentary The Other Orange. It serves as proof of the impossibility of reciprocal anthropology. He follows Marc Aug� in his claim for 'an anthropology of the near': old-fashioned research of far away and exotic cultures is now replaced by the study of everyday phenomena in the daily environment of the researcher. This, added to Edward Said's argument that Orientalism can only exist because of the existing relations of power and thus cannot be inverted as Occidentalism, led Hassan to the conclusion that his attempt to make a documentary about Amsterdam was bound to fail by definition and could only lead to him making a film about the city nearest to him, Beirut.

The result: a fake documentary about Amsterdam, as described by citizens of Beirut, injecting the words Amsterdam and Holland when they were talking about their own city and country. Slight games with lipsync and the doubling of images unsettle the viewer. Watching it at home, it gave me a sense of how these stories indeed might belong to the collective memory of Amsterdam, a city of migrants and travelers who contribute memories of war, sea and faraway places to the subconscious of their new environment. And here they are, chatting and joking at the tables of Beirut nightlife: the historian, the city planner, the mime artist, the refugee worker.

The Other Orange



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