The Pit - A Witness Tale

by Keren Bergman

Research & project

Aisha Nasser (name changed for privacy) was twelve years old when she saw her neighbor disappear into an open sinkhole on a dusty street in front of her aunt's house in her Palestinian village within the borders of Israel.

This film's starting point is a real story from legal transcripts. At first glance, it appears to be a minor case of little significance, shrouded in dry courtroom jargon. A closer look reveals layers of gender issues, psychography, malingering, and surveillance.

The Pit - A Witness Tale seeks to illuminate the unfathomable phenomenon of disappearance. How might mental disappearance function as a possible way out of an impossible situation, whether intentional or not? And how might the architecture of disappearance be manifested through a film?

Mrs. M fell into an open sewer hole while holding her two-year-old daughter. Although she was not physically injured, she developed severe psychological problems, while the village council argued that she was an impostor. There was only one eyewitness to Mrs. M's fall: a young neighbor named Aisha Nasser.

Years later, far from her village and childhood, living in a rented flat in the city of Haifa, Aisha receives her own forgotten testimony, which compels her to investigate and uncover this pit. In the film, Aisha's visual memory is reconstructed and superimposed on her present through audio-visual, archive footage, video compositing, animation, and rear projection.

What remains hidden? Who has disappeared? What does it mean to be a witness to an event? 

To see The Pit, one must have safe ground beneath one's feet. But it has vanished. This story suggestsively echoes in our own time, when communication and access have become impossible, and voices echo through a screen.

Visual Abstract Artistic Research:

Keren Bergman

Keren Bergman

Master of Film

A filmmaker, cinematographer and film researcher from Tel Aviv.
She graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in 2012, where she directed short film "Shir in the Water" (Haifa International film festival, 2012).
In 2017, she directed "Like Home", an independent short narrative that premiered at the Tel Aviv International Film Festival.
Keren's work has developed into a hybrid genre. Her video works explore the concepts of personal autonomy and societal standards of normality. 
Her work 'Under Their Custody' (multi-channel video, 2019) re-enacts legal transcripts regarding guardianship.
Keren has worked as a senior archival researcher on numerous documentary films. For her work on the film Speer Goes to Hollywood (2021, Vanessa Lapa), she received an award for best research.

In 2020, Keren participated in a documentary lab to develop a feature film, "Distributions" (in progress). The film explores the geographical and emotional journey between three siblings in a family on the spectrum. 
Her cinematography work on the short film "Arava", directed by Sara Benjamin, premiered at the Palm Springs Film Festival in 2023.
Above all, Keren researches light as it hits the lens and meets the eye. She has always been affected by light and space, Drawing light as a child and filming it as a cinematographer and director. 
She is intrigued by the form of the long poem and constantly searches for it in the ordinary language of everyday dialogue, found footage, news reports, and everyday objects.
Keren believes that we need each other to tell our stories and hidden dramas. 

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