5-12 July 2020
A Magical Substance Flows Into Me

A couple have paused to play music together in a small kitchen. A woman stands singing whilst leaning against the counter, a tea towel draped over her shoulder. A man sits on a chair against the back wall of the kitchen playing a banjo. The kitchen is lined with earthy-coloured tiles. There are jars of dried food on shelves, utensils on the counter and some vegetables cooking on the stove.

5-12 July: available to watch online from this page
Sunday 5 July, 6.30pm: communal viewing
Sunday 5 July, 8.00pm: live discussion

Proceeds from this screening were donated between Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and Show Racism the Red Card Scotland

Dir. Jumana Manna
2016, Palestine, 66 mins, Arabic with English subtitles
SDH subtitles available
cert PG

A Magical Substance Flows Into Me weaves through musical traditions of various communities living in and around Jerusalem. Manna took as her starting point German-Jewish ethnomusicologist Robert Lachmann’s field recordings of ‘Oriental’ groups in Palestine in the 1930s and his Oriental Music radio series made for the Palestinian Broadcasting Service (1920-1948). In the film we follow Manna as she revisits the communities that Lachmann studied – including Kurdish, Moroccan, and Yemenite Jews, Samaritans, members of urban and rural Palestinian communities, Bedouins and Coptic Christians. Over the course of her travels she visits homes, offices, recording studios, and places of worship, replaying Lachmann’s recordings and makes new recordings of her own. Interspersed with these are scenes from her own family home in East Jerusalem.


Play Video

Watch a Q&A with the director

Director Jumana Manna (A Magical Substance Flows Into Me) Viennale 2016 © Robert NEWALD Photographie


Listen to Jumana Manna in conversation with Negar Azimi, Senior Editor of Bidounmagazine 

Listen to Martin Stokes, King Edward Professor of Music at Kings College London, explore the history of musical tradition in Palestine with reference to the archives of Robert Lachman and the musical performances in Manna’s film
Read Jumana Manna on her film, A Magical Substance Flows Into Me –  Artforum, 18 September 2015
Read Jumana Manna in conversation with Katie Guggenheim, Exhibitions and Events curator, Chisenhale Gallery, September 2015
Read Morgan Green on Jumana Manna’s A Magical Substance Flows Into Me – Art 21 Magazine, 29 Nov, 2017

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This screening was part of Film FeelsConnected, a UK-wide cinema season, supported by the National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network.  Explore all films and events at filmfeels.co.uk