In Vitro (2019)
Film, 2 channels, 28', with Soren Lind
Commissioned by the Danish Arts Foundation for the 58th Venice Biennale, In Vitro, co-directed with Søren Lind, is a 2-channel Arabic-language sci-fi film filmed in black and white. It is set in the aftermath of an eco-disaster. An abandoned nuclear reactor under the biblical town of Bethlehem has been converted into an enormous orchard. Using heirloom seeds collected in the final days before the apocalypse, a group of scientists are preparing to replant the soil above.
In the hospital wing of the underground compound, the orchard's ailing founder, played by Hiam Abbass, is on her deathbed, as the younger Alia, played by Maisa Abd Elhadi, comes to visit her. Alia is born underground as part of a comprehensive cloning program and has never seen the town she's destined to rebuild.
The talk between the two scientists soon evolves into an intimate dialogue about memory, exile and nostalgia. Central to their discussion is the intricate relationship between past, present and future, with the Bethlehem setting providing a narratively, politically and symbolically charged backdrop.