A Magical Substance Flows Into Me
Our music documentary in May was Jumana Manna‘s ‘A Magical Substance Flows Into Me’, which was available to watch for free, for all, from anywhere, from May 10- 31.
‘A Magical Substance Flows Into Me’ is an arresting documentary tracing the works of German-Jewish ethnomusicologist Robert Lachmann whose radio show “Oriental Music” is one of the last remaining sound documents from the Palestine Broadcast Station, known in Arabic as إذاعة هنا القدس established by British Mandate.
In the 1930s, Lachmann’s radio show explored the musical traditions of Palestine and included regular live performances by musicians from different ethnic and religious groups. Inspired by his musicological studies, Palestinian artist Jumana Manna travels through Palestine 48 and the Palestinian territories of today with recordings from the programme. Manna interviews Kurdish, Moroccan and Yemenite Jews, Samaritans, members of urban and rural Palestinian communities, Bedouins and Coptic Christians while engaging in conversations around music and their performance.
Intercutting these motley encounters with musicians, are a series of vignettes of Manna interacting with her own parents in the bounds of their family home. In fact, the domestic is a trope that is littered throughout this film with recurring kitchen, living room, and elevator scenes. In this metaphorical universe captured through Manna’s lens, the film portrays the complexities of language and sound and situates them against the backdrop of impossibility.
About the Director:
Jumana Manna is a Palestinian artist working primarily with film and sculpture. Her work explores how power is articulated through relationships, often focusing on the body and materiality in relation to narratives of nationalism, and histories of place.