The Dislocation of Amber (Sudan: 1975)


Hussein Shariffe


Production: Sudanese National Council for the Arts, Sudan Film Unit, Sudan
Photography: Abdel Moneim Aladawy
Montage: Allan Ballard


The “Dislocation of Amber” was filmed in the city of Suakin, a formerly flourishing port in Sudan. All those who have previously written on Suakin admitted to the complexity of the town as a subject. So intriguing is Suakin that not even the origin of its name is agreed upon. Its history is one of famine & opulence, devastation and progress, rich trade and damage, involving colonialism. What makes Suakin so abidingly memorable is its resilience, built through war and conquests, the historical town is a product of determination and competitiveness. Today the city lies in ruins, a shadow of its former self. Shariffe used symbols -- scorpions, seashells, and camel caravans -- to accentuate a sense of utter desertion. Suakin's vacant coral buildings, a naked man crucified, slaves by the sea crouching on the beach, all lend signs to the film. Starting from his selection of the title of the film “Dislocation of Amber” which is self explanatory, no amber can be dislocated, it is too difficult to do that, but the name provides a metaphorical likeness to disassociating beauty from ugliness and life from none.
The poems in the film were sung by the late Sudanese singer Abdel-Aziz Dawoud providing background music.

Academic Articles:

Hale, Sondra. “Arts Publications and Cultural Projects by Sondra Hale.”
Middle East Studies 10.1 (2014): 41-52. Project MUSE. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.

Slyomovics, Susan. ““Every Slight Movement of the People… is
Everything”: Sondra Hale and Sudanese Art.” Middle East Studies 10.1
(2014): 15-40. Project MUSE. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.


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The Dislocation of Amber Sudan 1975 Hussein Shariffe
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