Cinema Palestina 6

Cinema Palestina (d)
Dancing Arabs

Director: Eran Riklis Screenwriter: Sayed Kashua Israël 2014 103 min.
Dancing Arabs tells the story of Eyad, a Palestinian-Israeli boy from the town of Tira whose parents send to a prestigious Jewish boarding school in Jerusalem. At school he finds himself struggling with issues of language, culture, and identity — trying to survive and to find his way in a place where war constantly rages around him. Feeling foreign and alienated, Eyad realizes that in order to be accepted as an equal, in order to allay people’s suspicions, in order to work, to love, and, above all, to belong — he has to make personal sacrifices.

Dancing in Jaffa
Bridges gaps between Jewish and Palestinian children
Hilla Medalia docu 2013 90 min.Palestine, Israel

Ballroom dancing bridges gaps between Jewish and Palestinian children in Israel in Dancing in Jaffa, a surprising, well-crafted documentary about how the celebrated dancer Pierre Dulaine, a veteran of a tremendously successful interethnic programme in New York, returned to help his hometown of Jaffa, which he fled as a 4-year-old in 1948, reports
Starting with a seemingly impossible situation, marked by deep cultural restrictions and war-forged trauma, Hilla Medalia’s film traces a slow but inexorable process of change as spitting enemies learn to tango, rumba and meringue together. The documentary’s lesson in intercultural diplomacy proves entertaining enough to ensure enthusiastic audiences during and well beyond its limited theatrical run.
Dulaine enlists students from five schools: two Palestinian-Israeli, two Jewish-Israeli and a fifth, one of Jaffa’s few integrated educational facilities. From the outset, huge obstacles arise. Dulaine must convince highly skeptical parents on both sides of the divide. Muslim boys and girls are not allowed to touch, much less dance together, and few of the Jewish children have even spoken to an Arab kid. Several children refuse outright and are impatiently sent away by Dulaine. But the videotape of a stellar performance from Dulaine’s heyday and a later visit from his partner in that video, Yvonne Marceau, awakens the kids to dancing’s possibilities. As the classes progress, shuddering reluctance gives way to half-hearted efforts and, after Dulaine announces a trophy-bestowing dance contest, more hip-swinging hoofing.
Medalia follows Dulaine’s adventures in and out of classes while focusing on the progress of three students: Lois Dana, an open, outgoing Jewish girl, Alaa Bubali, a sweet, shy Arab boy, and Noor Gabai, an angry, friendless Palestinian girl from the integrated school. As the kids begin meeting and practicing outside school, Bubali visits partner Dana’s apartment, and Dana is welcomed at Bubali’s fisherman’s shack. Bubali’s reaction when Dana’s mother explains that her daughter was fathered via sperm bank ranks as a high point of polite incomprehension. Gabai’s trajectory — from isolated, resentful pariah (nobody wants to be her partner) to the picture of beaming, friendly confidence — falls just short of miraculous.
The contest puts Jewish and Palestinian parents in close proximity as they record their offspring on cell phones and swap congratulatory comments, and the programme appears to be a resounding success as Dulaine heads home to Gotham. Only one scene — showing an army-protected invasion of angry right-wingers demanding that Jaffa belong exclusively to the Jews, with Gabai and her mother prominent among those protesting the protest — hints at just how isolated this limited detente may be.
Jaffa’s mix of old and new architecture provides a fitting backdrop for Daniel Kedem’s picturesque lensing, while Krishna Levy and Issar Shulman’s score shows no cultural favoritism.

Darwish: a soldier dreams of white lilies

Torstein Blixford, docu 15 min. 2014.

Mahmoud Darwish’s last project—a film featuring a final, intimate performance by the iconic Palestinian poet with a visual response by the director.

Day 79

Sam Al Ja’fari. Fictie 9 min. Palestina 2014. Arabisch gesproken en Engels ondertiteld.

Rami experiences daytime confinement. Waiting and discouragement are what characterize his life in that place.

A Day in Palestine

Mary Ellen Davis

This short collective work assembles scenes of everyday life in the occupied Palestinian territories, using a dream like visual language which evokes memories of home movies from the 1960s. But instead of a day at the beach or in the backyard: a wall, an olive tree, a bulldozer, soldiers harassing grandmothers: a day in Palestine.

Deadly Currents

Simcha Jacobovici 1991 docu 115 min.

The Romans dispersed the Jews from Judaea in 70 AD; Islam became the religion of Palestine 1300 years ago. The film focuses on Gaza and the West Bank where soldiers and youths are caught up in the Intefada, and on the clash of history and ideas in regions to which both peoples have historical claims. The film intersperses in-the-street footage with interviews with academics, journalists, soldiers, artists, family members of prisoners, and victims of violence. With emphasis on the lives of the refugees and settlers, and following a “Golani” platoon of Israeli soldiers led by Lt. Kobi Motiv, the film dramatizes the irreconcilable positions of many on both sides.

Dear Hassan

Axel Salvatori-Sinz 2014 | Documentary Short | 4 min
Lost in Paris, the filmmaker tries to recall Syria, Yarmouk Camp, and his Palestinian friend Hassan before the war.

Death Tunnel

by Mohamed Harb, docu 53 min. 2013 Palestine V

Gazans have been living under siege for four years. After the closure of all crossing points from Egypt into Gaza, they were forced to dig tunnels under the border town of Rafah to provide a lifeline to their families. So far, Israeli air raids have killed over 400 Gazans working in these tunnels, even post-graduate students. Today, as digging develops and tunnels are now able to accommodate cars, working in them has become even more dangerous.

Khaled died while working in the tunnels to support his wife and son. Now Mahmoud and Wesam could also become victims. Death Tunnel is their tragic story, that of the fear they endure to live like others. The film tells the story of a family living in Gaza and how the siege & closure of the crossings, force them to work on the tunnel. The mother refuses to work in the tunnel, and after months of work the tunnel had been bombed, and the workers died inside. However, people still want to work in the tunnel, although the risk. The film tells the story of the lives of Palestinians in Gaza through the tunnels and the ongoing siege on them.


Tarzan Nasser (ook scenario), fictie 85 min. Gaza. 2015

Dégradé is the first feature written and directed by the twin brothers Tarzan and Arab Nasser. A hot summer’s day in the Gaza Strip. Today the electricity is on. Christine’s beauty salon is heaving with female clients: a bride-to-be, a pregnant woman, a bitter divorcée, a devout woman and a pill-popping addict. But their day of leisure is disrupted when gunfire breaks out across the street. A gangland family has stolen the lioness from Gaza’s only zoo, and Hamas has decided it’s time to settle old scores. Stuck in the salon, with the prospect of death drawing ever nearer, the women start to unravel. How will the day end? Will they lose their lives for the sake of “liberating the lioness”? (Première 2015 in Cannes Int FF).

Destination: Gaza

Garry McGovern – docu – Ierland, 30 min. november 2015.

Having been brought up in Northern Ireland in the 1980’s, the Film Maker, Garry McGovern, ventured inside the Gaza Strip just after the Gaza-Israeli war of 2014, to see how ordinary families and children coped in a 21st Century conflict

TMFF Awards: November Winner – Documentary of the Month


Avi Mugrabi

An armoured vehicle, a cloud of dust, a bleeding woman, a megaphone, an ambulance, a woman with two children, another ambulance, a weeping girl, a burst of wind, a reporter, another armoured vehicle, a detail of a bigger picture…


May Odeh

May Odeh’s documentary enlists the perspectives of three young woman living in Gaza to bring audiences a vantage on life in the Gaza Strip rarely captured on film. Odeh shows these women facing a “double siege”: One emanating from the Israeli occupation, the other from the quasi religious authority that controls the torn city of Gaza today. Following them throughout the course of their daily life, Diaries finds these Gaza residents willing to share their fears, memories, thoughts and hopes for a better life – one wide enough to accommodate their aspirations. Filmed a year on from the devastating attacks of 20089, Odeh’s sensitive portrait is rich with detail and full of surprising insights into life in Gaza today.

Diary of a Male Whore

A film by Tawfik Abu Wael Palestine 2001

Esam, a young Arab war refugee who lives in Tel Aviv, makes his living as a male prostitute. His physical pleasure , that make him forget his hunger, remind him constantly of his childhood memories in his home village.

Palestine 2001, Tawfik Abu Wael, 14 min, Video, colour, Arabic with English subtitles
International Video and Film Festival Jakarta 2002; 6e Biennale des Cinemas Arabes, Paris 2002; International Short Film Festival Oberhausen 2002; International Film Festival Rotterdam 2002; Independent Film Days Augsburg 2001; Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival 2001; Short Cuts Cologne 2001; International Film Festival Jerusalem 2001

The Dinner

Maïs Darwazah documentaire 22 min.
Maïs Darwazeh lives alone. In Amman, a city of uprooted people, she creates her own identity by gathering around her table close friends, chosen ingredients, and old recipes. 

Maïs Darwazah, France, Palestine, United Arab Emirates / 2012 / Documentary / 22′ 
Director Maïs Darwazah | Script Maïs Darwazah | Camera Arlette Girardot | Pre-existing music Abdel Halim Hafez | Editing Nadia Ben Rachid | Sound Editing François Fayard

Dirty pictures (hotel diaries 7)

Smith, John

Moving from one hotel in Bethlehem to another in East Jerusalem, the filmmaker encounters a series of problems involving a ceiling, a video camera and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Dirty Pictures is the seventh episode in the Hotel Diaries series, an ongoing collection of video recordings made in hotel rooms which relate personal experiences to contemporary world events. John Smith is a graduate of the Royal College of Arts and a leading UK video installation and film artist. “At once politically concerned and very funny, these brilliantly structured ramblings connect the observations of his surroundings with the horror of world events in consistently surprising ways.” (Maximilian Le Cain, Film Ireland)

Disney Ramallah

Tamara Erde 2014 | Drama Short | 16 min
Rabi’a and his young son live in the harsh reality of the second intifada. The boy dreams of going to EuroDisney for his birthday and Rabi’a tries his best to make his son’s dream come true.

Displaced Lives (Vidas Deslocadas)

Joăo Marcelo Gomes

Joăo Marcelo Gomes’s short doc Displaced Lives (Vidas Deslocadas) is a tender portrait of Faez Abbas and Salha Nasser, an elderly couple and two of some 4,000 Palestinians in all for whom the 2003 Iraq war led to further displacement and Brazil. Having lived for four years in the Al–Ruweyshed Refugee Camp, in no–man’s–land between Iraq and Jordan, Abbas and Nasser must now adapt to a new language and culture in yet another country that’s not their own.

Disturbing the Peace

by Stephen Apkon / Andrew Young, docu USA 87 min
Gesproken taal: Engels, Arabisch, Hebreeuws, Ondertiteling: Engels.

Sinds 2005 strijden Israëli’s en Palestijnen zij-aan-zij én geweldloos voor vrede, verenigd als de Combatants for Peace. Ondersteund met veel archiefmateriaal vertellen filmmakers Stephen Apkon en Andrew Young het verhaal van deze strijdbare groep.
De Palestijnen en Israëli’s die zich hebben verenigd in de Combatants for Peace hebben bijzondere, door de problematische geschiedenis van hun land getekende levensverhalen. Zij hebben geprobeerd een zelfmoordaanslag te plegen of streden een ongelijke strijd in dienst van het Israëlische leger. Wat zij gemeen hebben, is dat zij tot het inzicht zijn gekomen dat de gewapende strijd niet tot vrede zal leiden en slechts meer slachtoffers zal eisen.
Daarom zetten ze zich nu in om ook anderen ervan te overtuigen de wapens neer te leggen. Dat doen ze onder meer met theatervoorstellingen en demonstraties. Maar hun activisme valt niet altijd in goede aarde. Zo roept een geweldloze demonstratie bij de afscheidingsmuur op de Westelijke Jordaanoever een heftige reactie op van de soldaten die de muur beveiligen. Maar de Combatants for Peace blijven standvastig: raketten en tanks gaan geen vrede brengen, zeggen ze. Een vreedzame samenleving ontstaat pas als de wapens worden.


by Emtyaz Al-Mograbi, documentary 16 min. Palestine, 2017, Arabic and Engl. ST
The film documents the status of the Al-Aqsa mosque and Jerusalem before, during and after
the removal of the electronic gates set by the Israeli occupation at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque after claiming that three young Palestinians carried out a martyrdom operation in the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

by Linda Paganelli and Margherita Pescetti; documentary 15 min. Palestine 2015, Arabic, Engl. ST
Dina, Eman, Sawsan are featured in the short movie. Three women with disabilities living in the Gaza Strip that thanks to the INCLUDE project, made by EducAid in collaboration with RIDS – Italian Network Disability and Development, had the chance to attend workshops, meetings, activities that led them, step by step, to realize their professional ideas and to know their rights of women with disabilities thereby acquiring decision-making power over their lives. The INCLUDE project aims to combat discrimination faced by disabled people in Palestine in the Gaza Strip by promoting rights and economic and social empowerment.
Divine intervention

Suleiman, Elia

Packed with witty visual gags, comic vignettes and moments of spectacular fantasy, the multiaward winning Divine Intervention is a portrait of the conflict laced with wicked and subversive humour. Palestinian director Elia Suleiman (Chronicle of a Disappearance) again plays the central character himself: “E.S.” cares for his ailing father in Jerusalem whilst conducting an affair with a Palestinian woman living in Ramallah. Barred from moving between the two cities, the lovers are forced to share their intimate moments in the shadow of an Israeli army checkpoint, from where they observe the daily feuds between the troops and civilians. Recalling the comic genius of Jacques Tati and deadpan delivery of Buster Keaton, Suleiman’s film is a passionate and surreal depiction of the political and human situation in Palestine. Winner, FIPRESCI Prize, Cannes 2002. Winner, Jury Prize, Cannes 2002.

The Do Gooders

by Chloe Ruthven, docu 75 min. 2013. V

A guerrilla style ‘Thelma and Louise’ road movie journeying deep into the murky world of International Aid. Chloe (British) and Lubna (Palestinian) embark on a trip to explore the impact of Foreign Aid on the region. But what starts out as a simple quest, becomes increasingly complex as the personal and political become ever more entwined.
Production:Roast Beef TV


by Hamdi Samir Al Salibi, fiction 14 min. Palestine 2017. No dialogue.
Producer Al-Quds University

The film tells the story of Omar, a young man who always experiences doors being shut in his face in the middle of the road. With the help of others, he sets out on a journey to discover what is waiting for them behind the door.

The Dove Flyer

Director: Nissim Dayan 2014 108 minutes narrative film
Based on a novel by Eli Amir, this celebrated film tells the story of the most ancient Jewish community in the world in Iraq, just before they leave for Israel after living there for close to two thousand years. Against the background of Jewish life in Bagdad of the 1950s, we witness the coming-of-age of 16-year-old Kabi. Transformed from a studious child to one of the central activists in the Zionist underground, he enables the immigration of the Jews of Iraq to Israel at a time when most Jews did not want to leave.

Dove’s Cry

Director: Ganit Ilouz Docu Israel 2013 52 minutes ArabicHebr

Hadeel, a lively 27-year old Arab teacher from Israel’s Wadi Ara region teaches spoken Arabic to a sixth-grade class at a Jewish elementary school as part of “a cross-cultural outreach program.” . The camera follows Hadeel over a year, during which she faces casual prejudice at work and mounting pressure to marry at home. While Hadeel remains convinced she can make a difference and moments of curiosity and dialogue with her students and co-workers offer reason for optimism, in candid conversations with the camera and her sister, Hadeel confesses fears and doubts. A humane and even-handed film about communication at any cost.
Themes: Documentary, Education

Drawing for Better Dreams

by May Odeh, Dia Azzeh, docu 4 min. 2015. V

By using images drawn by Palestinian children between the ages of 9 and 12, ‘Drawing for Better Dreams’ takes us to the Occupied Territories and into the minds of the kids who live there under siege. By animating the simple crayon drawings, this moving film conjures up the struggles faced by Palestinian children on a daily basis, and demonstrates the power of – and need for – allowing young people to dream.
Production:Odeh Films

Dream Homes Property Consultants (DHPC)

by Alexandra Sophia Handal, docu Palestine / UK / Denmark 2007-2017, Language Arabic with English subtitles


Expropriated Palestinian houses are ironically repackaged on the Israeli real estate market as “Arab-style”. Their factual history is concealed behind this architectural euphemism. Taking the form of a property consultancy, this interactive web documentary art revisits the individual history of these homes, uncovering Palestinian stories of displacement, dispossession and cultural cleansing from West Jerusalem.
Producer Alexandra Sophia Handal
Production Company Ciné-Dérive: Cinema & New Media Production House E-mail:

Interactive website:

The Dream

Malas, Mohammad

Filmed in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, Lebanon, shortly before the infamous massacre of 1982, this Syrian documentary’s principle reference is dreams, and not lived reality. It plays in this way on a double register, whereby women, children, the elderly, and combatants each recall the reality of their everyday, transposed eerily into their dreams, nightmares and premonitions. Ultimately they converge on what the Palestinians have had taken away from them: their homeland and the life of dignity it afforded them. Mohammad Malas is a prolific filmmaker, working in art, fiction, and documentary genres after teaching philosophy at Damascus University in the 1960s, he turned to film and has since produced numerous award winning works, notably a series of powerful documentaries on political prisoners in the Arab world. He has also published novels and writes frequently on Arab cinema.

The Dream (AL-MANAM) (new digital copy) by Mohamad Malas, docu 45 min. Syria 1987, Arabic with English, German or French subtitles.
For a preview copy contact
This classic al-Manam (The Dream), which was released 30 years ago, is available for festivals and institutions with new digital copies, either mov or Blu-ray with mec film.American University of Cairo Press published the director’s film diary The Dream: A Diary of a Film in December last year.Content
”Haj: Don’t you see the horses carrying soldiers in the sky?
Woman 1: They landed on earth and transformed to green (blue) and brown roosters; they started to fight each other.
Old man: they are fighting each other so as to liberate Palestine.
Woman 2: Like Cain and Abel.”
Shot in 1980-81, the film is composed of interviews with different Palestinian refugees including children, women, old people, and militants from the refugee camps of Sabra, Shatila, Bourj el-Barajneh, Ain al-Hilweh and Rashidieh in Lebanon. In the interviews Mohamad Malas questions them about their dreams at night. The dreams always converge on Palestine: a woman recounts her dreams about winning the war; a fedai of bombardment and martyrdom; and one man tells of a dream where he meets and is ignored by Gulf emirs. During filming Malas lived in the camps and conducted interviews with more than 400 people. In 1982 the Sabra and Shatila massacres occurred, taking the lives of several people he interviewed, and he stopped working on the project. He returned to it in 1986 and edited the many hours of footage gathered into this 45 minute film, released in 1987.

Dreams in the eyes

Abeer Al Marzouqi

Dreams in the Eyes is a short documentary chronicling the lives of three children in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon through their relationship with a volunteer medical mission, namely the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF). The documentary was filmed during a week in which a Chilean mission of volunteer orthopedic surgeons arrived to perform critical surgery on children in the Bourj Al Barjneh camp. The film’s 3 directors are all students at Zayed University, and the film represents the first UAE production in the Palestinian refugee camps of Lebanon. Winner Best Emirati Film, 2012 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

‘Drying up palestine

Peter Snowdon

The question of access to, and control over, water is an intrinsic part of the Palestine Israel conflict. This short documentary offers a portrait of the stresses and strains imposed on Palestinian society by Israel’s exercise of exclusive control over water and sewage infrastructures in the West Bank. Told through the testimonies of ordinary people, the film highlights the effects of a militarily enforced regime of resource theft, and revels the ecological, human, and political costs of failing to address this core issue.

The Dupes

Tawfik Saleh

Based on Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani’s novella, Men Under the Sun, this stark black and white film traces the destinies of three Palestinian refugees brought together by dispossession and hope for a better future. The setting is Iraq in the 1950’s and the protagonists, concealed in the steel tank of a truck, are trying to make their way across the border into Kuwait. The Dupes is one of the first Arab films to directly address the Palestinian predicament and remains today a landmark film and a political call to action. “A classic masterpiece of Arab cinema” – Arab Film Net. “Skilfully directed and crisply photographed…” – Seattle Times.

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