The Sky Trembles And The Earth Is Afraid And The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers
by Ben Rivers
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The Moroccan Sahara is littered with the legacy of films shot in its dramatic vistas: abandoned sets that reveal the artifice of filmmaking and trigger our recollection of the half-imagined spaces of familiar films from decades past.
Ben Rivers explores the illusion of filmmaking in Morocco through multiple film projections set in the Drama Block of Television Centre previously used by the BBC to construct scenery and props for TV drama.
Filmed in 16mm cinemascope, narratives, locations, and distinct eras of filmmaking all collide: A Distant Episode, the savage 1947 short story set in Morocco by Paul Bowles; behind-the-scenes footage of two other films shot in Morocco by artist Shezad Dawood and filmmaker Oliver Laxe; Bowles's storytelling muse Mohammed Mrabet playing himself and Laxe abandoning the set of his own film to take up another role.
Layering one uncanny landscape, that of Morocco's wild Atlas Mountains and much-filmed desert, with another, the iconic London backdrop to BBC drama since 1960, The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers collapses fiction and documentary into a powerful cinematic installation which pushes at the boundaries of storytelling.