Mille et un jours (1001 Days)

2004 | 44mins | Colour
By Mieke Bal, Zen Marie, Thomas Sykora, Gary Ward & Michelle Williams Gamaker

Genre: Experimental Documentary
French and Arabic with English subtitles

A snapshot of a small wedding that means everything

The film celebrates the outcome of an intricate journey of the anguish, struggle, loneliness and financial constraints of a young sans papiers in Paris. Tarek (27) came to Paris from Tunisia in 1999 pursuing an education. Despite the difficulties of his status as ‘illegal immigrant’, he followed a course of study in computer science and obtained his diploma. As he was pursuing this double life of earning a living and studying, the French authorities tried to expel him. But they didn’t succeed.

Through a great intimacy with the characters, we witness how four generations of Tunisian immigrants cope with the opportunities and hardships of migration. Tarek’s obsession with time’s speed is cast against the shadow of his father’s earlier failure to cope with capitalist time.

Like the Arabic tales the film’s title references, the film organizes stories around a wedding. With celebrations in full swing, the politics of immigration remains present under the surface. The film’s political thrust is to elicit debate by enlisting the viewer to become acquainted with the characters and the ins and outs of their situation; to be guests at the wedding. Rife with bureaucratic violence but also with the characters’ vitality, determination, and intelligence in outsmarting ‘the system’, the film’s content and aesthetics mix the contrasting tones of tragedy and comedy, fear and celebration.

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M.G. Bal
IBAN: NL85ABNA0949591297

Gustav Mahlerlaan 10
1082 PP Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Mille et un jours (1001 Days) has appeared at the following:

  • Galerie d’art Taverse Gutenberg, Lyon, France, June 2, 2017
  • Rome, Royal Dutch Institute Rome, Interculturality Week, 15 October 2015
  • Cine Tonalá, Retrospectiva Fílmica Mieke Bal, 21 January 2015
  • Exhibition “The Last Frontier / La última frontera: Video works by Mieke Bal, in collaboration with Michelle Williams Gamaker and Others,” Curated by Miguel Ángel Hernández Navarro, February 3 - March 29, 2011 (with catalogue)
  • Exhibition “Towards the Other,” Peter & Paul Fortress, St Petersburg, Russia, 10-29 October 2011
  • Universität Graz, Graz, Austria, December 9, 2010
  • Reading group. Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK, December 10, 2009
  • Stockholm University Library, Sweden, November 25, 2009
  • “La langue en movement” seminar, Institut Finlandais, Paris, France, March 21, 2009
  • Exhibition “Going the Distance: Video Works in Migratory Aesthetics.” Tampere Art Museum, Tampere, Finland, December 5, 2008 – February 15, 2009
  • University of Washington Program Study Abroad, seminar, August 9, 2008
  • ANTI-EKONOMIJA ŽIVOTA” film program, Belgrade, Serbia, July 16–21, 2007
  • Bucharest Biennale 3. In “Dis-economy of Life” program. Bucharest, Romania, June 21–25, 2007
  • “Hungry for Thought.” Centre Space, Russel Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, January 31, 2007
  • Artpool Art Research Center, Budapest, Hungary, November 15, 2006
  • Studio Dauhaus, Sofia, Bulgaria, November 4, 2006
  • Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia, October 27 – November 9, 2006
  • Museum of Contemporary Arts, Skopje, Macedonia, October 10, 2006
  • DIS-ECONOMY OF LIFE’ Klub Kulture, Mazuranicev Trg 1, 48260 Križevci and Osijek, Croatia, M-art & Barutana, October 2006
  • Udruga UKE – Urbana kultura I edukacija (Urban Culture and Education), Križevci, Croatia, September 24, 2006
  • University of Arts Belgrade, Belgrade, October 11, 2005
  • Exhibition “Cinema Suitcase Unpacked”, Art Gallery of the College of Staten Island, Staten Island, NY, March 3 and 10, 2005
  • Duke University, Durham, NC, March 1, 2005
  • “New Masculinities” exhibition, curated by Kathrin Becker, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, 2005 (see Masculinities exhibition catalogue, Berlin: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein)
  • “The Travelling Concept of Narrative” Interdisciplinary Symposium, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, December 3, 2004
  • Cinema et Art Contemporain, Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, October 28 – November 2, 2004
  • University of California, Berkeley, April 8, 2004 and November 30, 2004
  • Artword Theatre, Toronto, March 21, 2004
  • Workshop on word/image relations, University of Toronto, Toronto, March 10, 2004
  • Alien-3, curated by Heidrun Holzfeind in Art Center W139, Amsterdam, February 13 – March 14, 2004
  • Einstein Forum, Potsdam, Germany, December 18, 2003
  • PhD course on multiculturality, University of Tromsø, Norway, November 12, 2003
  • “Modes of Seeing” conference, University of Trondheim, Norway, November 8, 2003