Avant Arabia

March 2018 Issue

Dreams and dystopias, archeological records and the call of outer space. Science fiction, so often a precision vehicle for sociological exploration and self-analysis, here opens a complex conversation on life in the Middle East today, as told by its diverse residents. The news may offer bare facts, but sometimes it is more our imaginative or speculative forms of storytelling that can most directly capture and convey an experience. Turn a camera on oneself: film is identity. Turn a camera on the world: film is a direct window. Even when film provides a more meditated perspective -- through narrative, through artifice, through experiment -- it may not give up this immediacy and relevance. Instead, it opens up new ways of illuminating oneself and one's universe.