Lit & Found: Hoda Barakat, Karim Kattan, and Haytham El Wardany Reflect on Films

The Berlinale Film Festival’s 2022 online catalogue includes authors’ reflections on the films, including reflections by acclaimed authors Hoda Barakat, Karim Kattan, and Haytham El Wardany.

Hoda Barakat writes on Borhane Alaouié’s Beirut Il Lika (in an essay translated by Eric Rosencrantz), Karim Kattan on Mohammad Shawky Hassan’s Bashtaalak Sa’at, and Haytham El Wardany on Tyler Taormina’s Happer’s Comet (as translated by Katharine Halls). 

From “Happer’s Comet”

In El Wardany’s “A Kind of Anti-Light,” he reflects on creatures “not visible to the eye.” Much as in his most recent short-story collection, What Cannot Be Fixed, El Wardany is interested in non-human animals, language, and power. El Wardany brings us to two owls perching on the branch of a tree near the field. The prose then shifts into brief one-sentence paragraphs that hover somewhere between poetry and the quickened thoughts of animals:

The police are chasing us and killing our siblings.

They won’t let them pass.

The forest is pitch-black.

Snipers are everywhere.

Borders are crossed in the dark.

Nature is for humans, history is ours.

Bears will obliterate their footprints.

Squirrels have hidden food in every corner of the forest.

The ground is rough on their feet.

You can read all the essays at the festival website.

With thanks to Jesse Cumming, an editor with the Berlinale Film Festival, who alerted us to the festival’s 2022 online catalogue.