Cabaret Crusades

The festival hosted the work of Wael Shwaky Cabaret Crusades, a real bridge that connects the opposite shores of the Mediterranean from Palermo to Cairo, contemporary art with the history, video art with the puppet theater.
The Egyptian artist Wael Shawky reinterprets the First Crusade through the use of puppets of the Lupi collection from Turin and in part produced by the laboratories of the School of Ceramic in Provence, Faculty of Aix.

The artist from 2010 is developing a film in four acts which revises the religious presuppositions of the first Crusade against Jerusalem in 1095-99. The direction is based on the book by Amin Maalouf: The Crusades through the eyes of the Arabs (1983).
The two films, the first two parts of a not yet completed work, argue positions distant from the ecclesiastical rhetoric of Pope Urban II.

The spectator is captured by scenes of bloody carnage and at the same time, through the aesthetic distance caused by the rigidity of the actors/puppets fully retraces historical events in an atmosphere masterfully made by Fabrizio La Palombara stunning photography.

Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo

“Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo” (2012) is a mythic interpretation of the second phase of religiously sanctioned military expeditions by Western Christianity toward Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Taking place between the 1st and 2nd Crusades (1099-1149), it investigates the relationships between the different Arab countries and delves into a historical period in which the political power in the Middle East shifted across many different cities, eventually settling in Cairo at the end of the 2nd Crusade. It is acted out by handcrafted marionettes, but equal importance is placed on the music in the execution of the story. Driven by the traditional pearl fishing Bahraini music, the score and the lyrics, sung by children choirs, support and underline the intense and mythical experience of the film’s images.

Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File

The film is a translation of causes and effects of the religiously sanctioned military campaigns in the form of images based on a reconstruction of events seen through the eyes of those who had to confront the invasion. It provides a precise description of the places in the Middle East and Europe that formed the backdrop for the early Crusades. To bring these episodes alive, the production uses highly expressive 200-year-old marionettes from the Lupi collection in Turin. This gem of local Piemontese tradition is perfectly suited for a contemporary and international reinterpretation of events. The marionettes are moved by clearly visible strings and wear the costumes of the characters who were present in the Christian armies of Europe and in the Muslim armies during the conflicts. Though the subject is based on historical documents and facts, what emerges is a surreal and mythical atmosphere that blends drama and cynicism, telling a story of remote events that could hardly be more topical today.

The photographs of our volunteers