Cinema Palestina 9

Cinema Palestina
First lesson

Areen Omari – 2010 Fiction 15 min.

Actress Areen Omari’s directorial debut reflects her own experience on first leaving Palestine. Having moved to Paris in order to find a new life without the daily stresses and tension of her hometown, she endeavours to make the new city a home. With First Lesson, in which Omari also stars as Salma, she offers a satirical depiction of that process, and of confronting perceptions of Palestine in the new city. The film’s title refers to her first French language lesson, the film’s centerpiece, in which she is faced with some surprising expressions of national identity from fellow students, and is required to establish her own relationship to her home country… and maybe even its existence.

First Love

Dima Abu Ghoush’s First Love reflects the experience of the first love among adolescent girls, with all its dreams and illusions. In the film, five girls living in Palestinian cities, aged between 19 and 22, speak out of their first loves, which either remained a great love in their real life or a memory in their hearts. Abu Ghoush says: “I have chosen a social and humanitarian topic rather than a political one, as is generally the case in Palestine… I think that it is very important to focus on humanitarian issues through our art work, especially that the whole world got used to the images of struggles and conflicts on our territories.”

Director: Dima Abu Ghoush Producer: Alia Arasoughly 13 mins. 2009, Palestine
A Shashat Production with support from the European Union
“Trust is very important. Parents who trust, advise and communicate with their children, help them to avoid making mistakes. But parents who are strict and believe that everything is forbidden or taboo, don’t help to level with their children. Girls will be secretive and make mistakes, and will then ask their teenage peers, who may lead them astray. Parents who are open and communicate well with their children, help them to avoid mistakes.”

First picture

Akram al Ashqar – 2006 docu 27 min.

Nour was born in Israel’s Telmond prison, where his mother, Manal Ghanem from Tulkarm refugee camp, was being held. He lived for more than two and a half years with his mother in the prison before being separated from her while she remained in detention. The film joins Nour on his “release” and follows his first encounter with life outside an Israeli security prison. This beautifully composed debut documentary from Akram Al Ashqar, speaks of confusion and curiosity as Nour assimilates to a world populated not only by women, and where not all doors remain closed. Interviews with family members and friends provide a glimpse of his life inside the prison and reveal perhaps the most difficult aspect of all the fact that Nour misses the place where he was born: his mother’s cell which represented his only “world”

Five Boys and a Wheel

by Said Zagha Palestine/Jordan 2016, drama comedy, 19 min.
Producers Ahmad Khatib, Akram Ashqar, Said Zagha. Production company AKZ Collective

A young father (Ali Suliman) has to help his son out of a petty conflict with the neighbors. As the parents of each respective family are summoned, the discussions quickly spin out of control, testing the father’s values. Set in Jordan, this short film is an Arabic-language adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story, ”Bicycles, Muscles, Cigarettes.”

Five Broken Cameras

53 min
De Palestijnse landarbeider Emad is inmiddels toe aan zijn vijfde videocamera. Iedere camera die kapot ging, vertelt een deel van het verhaal over het verzet van zijn dorp tegen de onderdrukking door Israël. De documentaire won op internationale filmfestivals inmiddels vele prijzen.
Emad woont in Bil’in, een dorp op de bezette westelijke Jordaanoever, op een paar kilometer afstand van de muur die Israël bouwt om de oprukkende Joodse nederzettingen te scheiden van de Palestijnse dorpen. Met de eerste camera legde hij vast hoe in 2005 de bulldozers kwamen om olijfbomen uit de grond te trekken ten behoeve van de muur, die dwars door het land van zijn dorpsgenoten verreist.
In die eerste dagen, waarin het verzet tegen de Joodse kolonisten en de alom tegenwoordige Israëlische soldaten op gang komt, wordt Emads vierde zoon Gibreel geboren. Beelden van de boreling die uitgroeit tot een vroegwijze kleuter, van de vele vreedzame protestacties en de gestaag vorderende bouw van de scheidingsmuur wisselen elkaar af. Het verzet groeit, mensen uit de hele wereld komen helpen. Maar de strijd wordt grimmiger, er worden mensen gearresteerd en er vallen dodelijke slachtoffers in het dorp. Emad blijft filmen, ondanks de smeekbeden van zijn vrouw die bang is voor represailles. Hij maakt zo een zeer persoonlijk en indringend document over de strijd van een dorp tegen geweld en onderdrukking.

Five minutes from home

Nahed Anwar – 2008 docu 52 min.

The Jerusalem Airport lies on the road that links Jerusalem with Ramallah. Five kilometres from Ramallah and 10 kilometres from Jerusalem, the airport has been occupied by Israeli army since 1967. Today, to the east of the runway, a checkpoint blocks the Jerusalem to Ramallah road: a dead end street. 5 Minutes From Home shows that life was not always like this: this was once a place where international flights landed and Palestinians travelled freely, not just in Palestine, but globally. The happy images and testimonies of the past she compiles contrast with a present where access to the airstrip is prevented by behind barbed wire and the creeping advance of the West Bank Wall.

Fix me

Raed Andoni – 2009 docu 89 min.

Raed Andoni has a tension headache—one that has lasted generations and isn’t going to end soon. That’s because Andoni is a Palestinian living in the Ramallah, where the prospects for a stressfree life are elusive. Fix Me follows Andoni through 20 therapy sessions as he tries to cure his unwelcome condition. The internal terrain of displacement and alienation that is revealed to his therapist and through his daily encounters with friends and family mimics the lived reality of thousands of Palestinians who are themselves displaced from their history and homeland. Ironic in tone, stylishly shot, and with a haunting score, Fix Me deftly plays with the concept of detachment from every angle. In Andoni’s hands, life under occupation is rendered with sly humour and an unexpectedly light touch, culminating in a poignant statement about the universal longing for a way back home. (Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival).

The Flat

Arnon Goldfinger docu 2011 Israël/Duitsland 97 min

De grootouders van regisseur Arnon Goldfinger woonden in een Bauhausgebouw in Tel Aviv sinds zij in 1930 vanuit Duitsland naar Palestina waren geëmigreerd. Als je niet uit het raam keek, leek het net of de flat in Berlijn stond. Toen Goldfingers grootmoeder overleed op 98-jarige leeftijd, ontdekte hij talrijke objecten, foto’s, brieven en papieren die geheimen onthulden over het verleden.


Ahmad Habash. Fictie 3 min, 2006 Palestina. Geen dialogen
In 2006, Ahmad directed and animated “Flee”, a short Sand animation as part of the Palestinian filmmaker collective’s project “Palestine, Summer 2006”. “Flee” reflected a new turn in his artistic orientations and was screened in many prestigious festivals all over the world.

Flipping out

Yoav Shamir – 2008 docu 60 min

Language: Hebrew with English subtitles. Documentary by Yoav Shamir about the extreme drug use of Israeli soldiers in India. Military service in Israel is compulsive for all able-bodied Jewish men and women. Once their years of service are up they are granted a bonus which many use to travel to India to wind down and recover from their experiences. About 90 per cent of them will use drugs during their travels and every year about two thousand of them will require professional help to recover from this drug use. The extreme psychotic break these people experience is commonly referred to as “flipping out”. Shamir spends two years with his camera filming this phenomenon and makes the link between the excessive drug use and the soldiers’ experiences in the occupied Palestinian territories. Biography. Yoav Shamir is an Israeli documentary filmmaker born in Tel Aviv in 1970. He graduated from Tel Aviv University with a BA in History and philosophy. He is most noted for the films Checkpoint and Defamation. Shamir’s films have received awards from various independent film festivals including Best Feature Documentary at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the Grand Prize at the Sundance film festival and the Golden Gate Award for Documentary Feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Trailer:

Flower Seller

Ihab Jadallah fictie 18 min. Palestine/France/England 2011

In a refugee camp in Jenine, a flower seller struggles to earn a living, selling flowers at funerals, especially when martyrs are buried. Yet no one really cares for his flowers in this camp where opportunities for celebration and joy are scarce. He is an easy prey for the Israeli secret service.


Flying paper'

Nitin Sawhney, Roger Hill – 2013 docu 71 min.

Flying Paper documents a spectacular quest by Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip to break the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown. Coproduced with young Palestinians trained by the filmmakers through a youth media programme (Voices Beyond Walls), the film celebrates the creative resilience of children facing extraordinary hardship in their daily lives. Scored by the codirector’s namesake, Nitin Sawhney, the film combines animated sequences with footage of the recordbreaking bid and portrayals of the film’s protagonists.

For cultural purposes only

Sarah Wood – 2009 docu 7 min.

In an age dominated by the moving image what would it feel like to never see an image of the place that you came from? The Palestinian Film Archive contained over 100 films showing the daily life and struggle of the Palestinian people. It was lost in the Israeli assault of Beirut in 1982. In Sarah Wood’s meditation on this loss and its significances, interviewees recall from memory key scenes and moments from the history of Palestinian cinema. The scenes are each drawn and animated. Where film survives, the interviewee’s impressions are “corroborated” by way of the original films. This is a study of reconstruction and of cinema’s involvement in the formtaking of cultural identity – of an idea that cinema, even in its absence, fuels memory.

Forbidden Marriages in the Holy Land

Michel Khleifi – docu – 66 min 1995

Khleifi interviews nine inter-faith and inter-racial couples in Israel, asking each where they met, how they have addressed religious or cultural differences in their marriage, how their families have responded to the relationship, and how they chose where to live. He also has a professor and three religious leaders comment: a sheikh, a rabbi, and a priest. The three religious spokesmen are dead set against inter-faith marriage, while the couples express themselves in simple terms about their partner’s kindness and other human qualities.

Forbidden Pilgrimage

by Ahmad Damen (also script), docu 50 min. Qatar 2013 V

A comparison between Roman persecution of Christians and pilgrimage journeys, and the reality of the Holy Land under the Israeli occupation. Since the early centuries of Christianity, pilgrims have been treading Jesus Christ in the Holy Land, particularly to visit the sites connected with the ministry of Jesus. More than two million Christian pilgrims visited the historical Palestine in 2012 and the numbers are rising steadily every year. Israel promotes its current control of the Holy Land as a heavenly blessing to Christians worldwide. However, the biblical route relevant to various religious sects is turning into an abandoned one today. This is because pilgrims flocking to the holy land from all parts of the world are being misled by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the Israeli agencies. The native Palestinian Christians are experiencing a new age of persecution. In addition to daily harassment, vandalism and killing of pastors by Israeli gangs, the separation wall and checkpoints divide their country and limit their freedom. They view this as an effort by the Israeli government to evacuate the holy land of its local…

Ford Transit

Hany Abu Assad – 2002 docudrama 80 min.

Director AbuAssad accompanies Palestinian taxi driver Rajai and his passengers as they attempt to circumnavigate and make sense of the mesh of physical, political and emotional barriers that delimit their lives in Jerusalem and Ramallah. Mixing scripted scenes with reality, the film’s humor and sincerity gives voice to a range of revealing personal opinions about circumstances in Palestine during the latest Intifada. Winner: Spirit of Freedom Award for Best Documentary – Jerusalem Film Festival, 2002. Winner: FIPRESCI Award – Thessaloniki Film Festival, 2003.

The Foreigner

by Natalie Al-Jubeh, docu 15 min. 2017.

Don Hutchison, an American born in Pennsylvania, came to Palestine in 1965. Since then, he has considered himself Palestinian.
Producer: Mashahid Production Co. and support Filmlab

Forget Baghdad
[full title: “Forget Baghdad: Jews and Arabs – the Iraqi connection”]

Samir – 2002 docu 110 min.

Iraqi Swiss filmmaker, Samir, takes on stereotypical and historically novel distinctions between ‘Jews’ and ‘Arabs’ in this deeply thoughtful film about Iraqi/Jewish communists who left Iraq for Israel in the 1950s. Drawing on insightful interviews with academics (including Ella Shohat), novelists (Sami Michael and Samir Naqqash) and other ‘Iraqi Israeli Jewish Arabs’, as well as upon archival research and footage, the film explores a fascinating set of political, cultural, religious, national and linguistic tensions linked to the emergence of new and potentially exclusive ways of identifying as Jewish or Arab. In so doing, the film confronts central issues of identity at the heart of national and ethnic conflict. Winner – Zurich Film Prize, 2002 Critics Week Prize, Locarno, 2002.


Aloni – 2006 fiction 97 min.

On April 9, 1948, a Jewish militia entered the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin and killed over 100 villagers.
Soon after, a mental hospital was built on the ruins. The first patients to be committed were Holocaust survivors.
A legend says that to this day, the survivors have been communicating with the ghosts of the village.
David Adler, a 20-year old American-Israeli who decides to move back to Israel, only to find himself committed to a mental institution that sits on the ruins of a Palestinian village called Deir Yassin. 

Flashbacks and flashforwards reveal the events that led up to his hospitalization. A 10-year old female ghost holds the secret to the riddle. But only when the secret is revealed can she find rest and give David the option to end a perpetually-repeated destiny… 

  Doctor Itzhik Shemesh, a psychiatrist at the mental institute, injects David with a chemo-technological drug in an attempt to build a bridge over the trauma zone and allow David to live a normal life. Even though he doubts its ethical consequences, his use of the drug is an act that mirrors his own deep denial… 

Doctor Shemesh is given permission to use the drug by David’s father, Henry Adler, a Holocaust survivor who spent a short time in Israel before becoming one of the most pre-eminent musicians in America. 

Henry, who has the arrogance of Oedipus and faith in the rational overcoming of trauma via action, doesn’t understand why his son has been hospitalized. But Henry’s lust for life and his desire for normality make him live in denial of the past, which is unbearable for David, whose restless soul seeks the truth. Henry will confront a horror beyond all horrors when the truth reveals itself. 

A blind patient in the hospital named Muselmann, also a Holocaust survivor, tells David to listen to the ghosts that are haunting him, that they have something important to tell him. 

Like the blind prophet Tiresias, Muselmann knows that the truth does not hold redemption, and this is why he never tried to reconstruct his life after the camps. Because he lives between the world of the dead and the living, Muselmann can act as a conduit between the murdered ghosts and David. 

The flashbacks and flashforwards from the mental institute reveal, with the story of David’s life, the story of the eternal return of the trauma and a destiny that seems unalterable…

The Forgotten
Ehab Tarabieh fictie 21 min. Syrië 2012
Mustafa steals across the Israeli border with the help of a local smuggler. This is a one-way trip for him as he contemplates the end of his life. Forty-five years ago, Mustafa was forced from his home in the Golan Heights; his attempt to return is confounded by his inability to remember where he is going.
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