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Un(der)seen Cinema: November

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Hito Steyerl and Andrea Wolf grew up together in Germany, celebrating the dangerous on-screen women who made short work of the men who dared step to them. The films called them, “villains”, but Wolf and Steyerl made feminist revenge fantasies in their honor. Prompted by the discovery that Wolf, who joined the Kurdish revolutionary army and took on the name Sehît Ronahî, had been captured and killed by Turkish troops, Steyerl’s 2004 film November draws the threads between their cinematic loves and the means by which her friend became a symbol and comrades become martyrs.

November is a self-reflexive video that examines the role of images in the post-revolutionary moment, primarily through the figure of Andrea Wolf, a friend of the artist’s from her teenage years who eventually fought alongside Kurdish rebels. Undertaking the question of what is nowadays called terrorism and used to be called internationalism once, the film’s starting point is a feminist martial arts flick the artist and Wolf shot in the Eighties, when they were 17 years old, on Super-8 stock. Now this fictional material has suddenly become a document, questioning the notion of political memory when revolution seems to be over and only its gestures keep circulating.

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Watch November here

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