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Sarah Dobai, « The Donkey Field – Sarah Dobai & Cécile Bourne-Farrell in conversation » 

Artist Sarah Dobai and curator Cécile Bourne-Farrell discuss her latest film "The Donkey Field". In their conversation they focus on this new work, addressing its concern with the historical resonance of the ongoing refugee crisis and the question of the transferability of traumatic episodes inEuropean history to other times and places.

The conversation took place in the framework of the project "Art in a Conflicted World"; the project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.


2k video  19’40” single screen      

The Donkey Field weaves a link between a racist on a young boy on a piece of common land known locally as “the donkey field” and the story of the persecution of Marie and Balthazar the donkey in the acclaimed film Au Hasard Balthazar (1966).

The film features a text, based on sections of a memoir of Budapest in 1944, and scenes which re-enact and reframe Robert Bresson’s allegorical story about the scapegoating of innocent subjects. Partly shot on the streets of present-day Budapest, under a regime criticized for its anti-immigrant policies and harsh treatment of refugees, The Donkey Field underlines the relevance of the boy’s story to other, more recent stories of displacement and victimization.  The resonance of the subject with other traumatic historical episodes, is underlined by the removal of dates and place names and the use of initials and other substitutions.

Background: Seen from the point of view of the artist’s family member, a boy who was ten at the time, the film relates to the events that unfolded in Budapest from March 1944, when Hungary was occupied   by Germany, to January 1945 when the Siege of Budapest ended. The attack which features at the start of the film, significantly led to his discovery that of his hidden Jewish identity just as new brutal antisemitic laws were introduced.

Sarah Dobai, « The Donkey Field – Sarah Dobai & Cécile Bourne-Farrell in conversation » 

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