Kings of the Hill

is part of the MOVING IMAGES / MOVING BODIES screening programme.

Kings of the Hill
4:3 aspect ratio

Rituals are characteristic of a country, a group or culture. Language, art, culinary traditions, the greater part of everyday habits, originate from rites that are usually not consciously defined, although possibly meaningful. Yael Bartana shows us group behaviour from her native country, Israel, in such a way that it is bound to make us reflect on the deeper meaning of this behaviour. For Kings of the Hill, she filmed people gathering at the bottom of the dunes at the coast near Tel Aviv. They meet here every Friday, late in the afternoon when the Sabbath begins. We see them trying, time and again, to drive their all-terrain cars up the sand bulges, which are much too steep. Like crabs on the beach they try again and again, but they hardly ever make it to the top. Bartana makes a meticulous use of camera standpoints, composition, light and editing to create beautiful images and gently ease them away from reality. She shows the event as a romantic, slightly deviant variation on a street race. But this first impression is also the start of a thread that connects the fate of bored, rich men’s children, in a country governed by eternal struggle with the rules of the Sabbath and the labour of Sisyphus.

Moving Images/Moving Bodies and Netherlands Media Art Institute
part of part of Moving Image/Moving Bodies Screening Programme



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