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THE APOLLO OF GAZA


Nicolas Wadimoff, Switzerland/Canada, 2018, 78'
World Premiere
Screenings:
Fri. 3.8.2018, 11h00, La Sala
Sat. 4.8.2018, 18h30, L'altra Sala

en / it / de / fr

In August 2013, a significant archaeological discovery is made in Gaza. Local fisherman Joudat Ghrab says he found a bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo, partially buried about 100 meters from the shore. This treasure of Antiquity seems like a major discovery, except... to the public, the statue can only be seen in a handful of photographs and its new location is kept under wraps. It doesn’t take long for the Internet to speculate: people say the statue could weigh close to 500 kg and be over 2,000 years old, considerably inflating the political stakes.

After a brief time as an online auction item, the police step in and confiscate the sculpture. Embarrassed by the nudity of a god that has no place alongside Islam, Hamas nevertheless considers it a godsend and claims ownership of it. After all, the statue could be worth tens of millions of dollars. Most of all, the government can use it to attract international experts and put pressure on the European Union and the United States, who have thus far declined contact with Hamas, which they consider a terrorist organisation. To this day, no specialist has been able to examine the statue to verify its authenticity. The figure has vanished, and the wildest rumours continue to emerge: is it hidden away in a tunnel under armed guard? Has it been destroyed, or sold?

Bringing together the main players of the discovery, as well as international experts, Nicolas Wadimoff’s documentary recreates the history of an enigma which ramifications are immeasurablycomplex. The Apollo of Gaza is much more than just an investigation about the mysterious statue: it offers a fascinating look at a country where everything is political. In a world made of truths and lies, clues must be sought not in what interviewees have to say, but in the mischievous smiles that sometimes appear on their faces. With his camera, the Genevan filmmaker progressively reveals what is truly at stake. The Apollo itself is but a spark from Antiquity, but the questions that come with it include not only who holds the power in Gaza, but also what becomes of a people that is patiently clinging to the promise of a new culture, built and justified by a foundational history. The director, whose point of view is impressively respectful and discreet, never pretends to solve the unsolvable, nor does he claim to know where the truth lies. In the end, his approach allows for a new way to look at the Gaza Strip.

Thomas Gerber