Belgrade Forest Incident …and What Happened to Mr. K?
In 2018 the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, referred to in the film as Mr. K, captured the world’s attention as little by little, snippets of his fate became public. What started out as a mysterious disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, slowly spiraled into an elaborate web of lies, and ultimately, a horrific murder. The news was particularly disturbing as it seemingly happened at the behest of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, prompting many world leaders to step into the ring and voice their condemnation, including the US president, “Mr. T”.
In his film, Jan Ijäs puts together an eerie retelling of the time following Khashoggi’s murder, following the day by day unravelling of facts and fiction that gripped international headlines. The moody reels of Istanbul city life coupled with the calm narration that guides the film’s direction create an intense atmosphere that slowly but surely creeps under your skin. It is a delicate balancing act that Ijäs performs in complementing the horrific details of Khashoggi’s demise, with lush green visuals of the Belgrade forest, a site once thought to be the final resting place for the remains of the journalist. The film is both a collected recount of a man’s murder, as well as an intense deepdive into the corrupt conspiracies that were born from that day.
Waste no.6 How Great
What happens to the world of information as it transcends into the online sphere? For centuries, information, from encyclopedia knowledge to memories found in photo albums, has been located within our homes, on bookshelves, in drawers, in physical form. Increasingly however, this world has moved online as the significance of electronic technology has become a familiar character in our daily lives.
Jan Ijäs dives into this notion, and spotlights several different effects of this transition. One segment travels to South Korea, to a rehabilitation centre for internet-addicted youths, as they take part in karaoke and creative exercises to curb their withdrawal effects. Another touches down in a literal wasteland in Ghana, locally known as Sodom and Gomorrah, where digital waste labelled as ‘second hand consumer products’ are dumped to be scavenged for gold and precious metals.
Ijäs jumps through several cities around the world, each time exploring the morphing faces of technology. Though at times frustrating, the stories also weave in rosy tales of garbage collectors in Ankara who have created a local library from books left on the curbside. Through warm colours, a consistently calm narration, and a dash of jazz, Ijäs creates an almost futuristic look back on our current state, providing a peak into what might one day be written down in the history books of today.