Filmmaker in Person
1975. The Summer of Tigers in Bangladesh ended with a failed Maoist mutiny. Along with the leaders, also arrested was Peter Custers, a Dutch journalist who befriended the leader of the soldiers’ mutiny. Last Man unspools two stories in reverse: In a series of newsreels, we start with Peter’s release. In the parallel, and contradictory, story told by Peter, memories unravel over books and magazines in his Netherlands home. Inspired by Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man, Peter dropped out of Johns Hopkins to move to Asia in search for a revolutionary proletariat. A few months after the film’s premiere at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Peter passed away unexpectedly. The film is now an unexpected memorial; the last man has said goodbye.
The idea of the remaining witness, and whether memory is blessing or burden, play out in Mohaiemen’s current exhibition at MoMA, New York, There Is No Last Man.
Preceded by the short Abu Ammar is Coming (2016, Bangladesh/USA, 6mins). Using black and white archival photos, this evocative short merges promise and heartbreak, tracing the residual memories and stories of the moment of global solidarity between Palestine and Bangladesh.