Dystopian Communities

Leviathan, an ambitious and challenging new project by Shezad Dawood (b. 1974), unfolds over the course of the next three years, travelling across the globe to multiple international locations. Launching this May, the episodic narrative comprises of a ten-part film cycle and an accompanying written series. The monumental feature evokes notions of mental health, marine welfare and borders, whilst also considering the complex and surprising links between them.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world permeated with dystopian communities, Leviathan reflects on contemporary socio-political issues and the role of art in today’s world. Dawood’s varied cultural heritage is tangibly relevant. Holding heritage in Pakistan and Ireland, these influences are mirrored in an interest in different mediums of creative expression and the associated systems which society uses to judge their value.

Each section is narrated from a different character – a set of protagonists who are the survivors of a cataclysmic solar event; the feature follows the individuals as they roam across Europe, Asia and North Africa. Uncompromising with satirical undertones, the film reflects on the current state of indifference and lack of empathy, imagining a world in contemporary attitudes are transformed. Dawood combines appropriated footage drawn from new clips, fictional films and documentaries with new, high-definition scenes filmed in locations including the Natural History Museum, London, and the Venetian Lagoon.

Dawood notes: “Leviathan is really a challenge to the dominant mind-set of seeing causes as separate and distinct, and not as part of a larger body or system. By combining speculative fiction with a public programme looking at some, if not the key fault-lines of the present and their possible interconnections, hopefully a small step is made to address the ailing human and planetary body.”

Leviathan, Shezad Dawood. From May 2017. www.shezaddawood.com

Dawood screened at ASFF2015, enter this year’s festival and unlock your potential.

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