Cinema Palestina 17

Cinema Palestina (l)
The Lab

Yotam Feldman,  Israel/France/Belgium  2013  documentary  60 min.

Since 9/11, the Israeli arms industries are doing bigger business then ever before. Large Israeli companies develop and test the vessels of future warfare, which is then sold worldwide by private Israeli agents, who manipulate a network of Israeli politicians and army commanders, while Israeli theoreticians explain to various foreign countries how to defeat civil and para-military resistance. All based on the extensive Israeli experience. The film reveals The Lab, which has transformed the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank from a burden to a marketable, highly profitable, national asset.


Lacan Palestine

Mike Hoolboom 2012 docu 70 min.

A mind boggling achievement by Canadian artist and filmmaker Mike Hoolboom, who has been called “the greatest found footage master of the era”. Skilfully assembled from existing material, Hoolboom conjures visual allegories and cutup counternarratives around the notion of Palestine as “a land that is not a land”. Mining a wealth of material from TV news, documentary, fiction, and fantasy film, Lacan Palestine is a visual rollercoaster, with Hoolboom using cinema to suggest Palestine as a place of recurring colonial/psychological projection a space whose conquest is here spectacularly relived in celluloid waves of armed crusaders, legionnaires, Mongol horsemen, biplanes, and machine guns. But as the film’s title suggests, this is far more than mere collage. Layered, often deeply personal, and frequently challenging, the film intersperses its newsreels, desert fantasias, and historic encounters with oneiric ruminations on subjects from patricide to John Coltrane, and from the elusive nature of joy to what Hoolboom calls the “loveless love story” starring Moses, Abraham, and Jacques Lacan. Dizzying in its technical and conceptual density, Lacan Palestine is incomparable cinema.

Lady Kul El Arab

Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin 2008 docu 56 min. Lady Kul El Arab” Lady Kul El Arab  (2008)

Angelina Fares, a young woman from the Druze village of Sagur in northern Israel and the country’s first Druze model, becomes a finalist in a beauty pageant for Israeli-Arab women. Facing severe pressure and death threats from her village, Angelina must decide whether to go forward with her fashion world dreams or to resign. The story follows Angelina’s struggle to reconcile the traditions and values of her society with her bold efforts to choose her own way in life.

Laila's Birthday

Rashid Masharawi 2009 fiction 72 min.

Abu Laila (played by Mohamed Bakri) used to be a judge. Now the government doesn’t have the means to pay him he is compelled to work as a taxi driver. On the day his daughter Laila turns ten years old his wife insists he be home early to bring her a present and a cake. Abu Laila has nothing else on his mind other than completing this vital mission. But daily life in Palestine has other plans for him…. Gaza born Mashrawi (Waiting, 2005 Tension, 1998 Haifa, 1996) has been at the forefront of Palestinian cinema for over a decade, working across genres and with the finest acting and production talent in the region. Laila’s Birthday is his most accomplished and engaging work yet, featuring a virtuoso turn from Bakri, a very clever script, and some moments of inspired natural comedy. But while always entertaining, in its original style, Laila’s Birthday manages to expose and confront many of the most serious issues facing Palestinians today. Laila’s Birthday had its UK premier at the 2008 London Film Festival. This screening will be followed by a Q&A session with both director Rashid Masharawi and lead actor Mohammed Bakri. Bittere komedie. 72 min. Ned. ondertiteld.

Land confiscation order 06/24/t

Larissa Sansour 2006 docu 11 min.

In her video piece Land Confiscation Order 06/24/T, Denmarkbased Palestinian video artist Larissa Sansour explores the notion of territory as constitutive of not only national, but also personal identity. LCO 06/24/T is a requiem for a small piece of land and a house made of stone. It in turn becomes a eulogy for the dream of viable statehood and exposes Palestinian identity as a block that not only political and cultural, but also geographical factors are chopping away at on a daily basis.

Last days in Jerusalem

Tawfik Abu Wael 2011 fiction 85 min.

Director Tawfik Abu Wael won the 2004 Cannes International Critics Prize with his debut feature, Atash (Thirst), a work that prompted Sight & Sound to declare him “the most exciting Arab filmmaker to have emerged in more than a decade”. This greatly anticipated follow up tells the story of Nour and Iyad, a Palestinian couple living in East Jerusalem, preparing to move to Paris. He is a surgeon at the top of his game, she an actress from a well off Palestinian family. When news of an accident forces Iyad to return to work and delay their departure, Nour senses abandonment and begins to question their move as well as their marriage, gradually realising how attached she is to all that she is about to leave behind. An intimate psychological drama, Last Days in Jerusalem tenderly depicts the couple’s wrenching final days, tearing themselves away from home, from the familiar, and even from each other.

The Last Friday

Yahya al Abdallah 2011 fiction 88 min.

Yahya Al Abdallah’s debut feature is an character driven drama set in contemporary Amman. After his wife (played by Yasmine Al Masri) takes custody of their only son (Fadi Arida), divorced taxi driver Youssef (Ali Suliman) settles into a downbeat life of backgammon, poker, and sombre resignation. But when he is diagnosed in need of urgent (and costly) surgery, Youssef is compelled to make some bold decisions about his relationships with his son and former wife. The Last Supper is a sombre, but nonetheless witty study of one man’s struggle against isolation in the face of economic uncertainty and personal peril. With an award winning soundtrack by Le Trio Joubran, and a commanding central performance from Suliman.


Jordan, Palestine | 2012 | 12 min | Dir: Roua Nazar
This is a story of a young boy who delivers bread from his father’s street cart daily. As he makes his way from customer to customer, we come to know his loves, his disappointments and his dreams. It’s a day like any other, but for one thing, the one thing that changes everything.

Last Stop

Ghada Tirawi

“Last Stop” is a reflection on living in exile and then returning home. Director Ghada Tirawi is the subject of her own short which illuminates the moments of joy, the dreams becoming reality, and the many disappointments.Organizers of the Palestinian Women’s Film Festival say that high quality over the past four years has garnered international acclaim. The German Goethe Institute is a partner organization.

The Last supper (Abu Dis)

Issa Frey 2005 docu 26 min.

In Issa Freij’s beautiful, elegiac short film The Last Supper, we watch the slow but inexorable defacement of a landscape and a community as a section of the 20 foot high concrete wall that isolates Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank is filled in by bulldozers and cranes. Sumaya is a young woman with a home in Abu Dis which looks out over the city of Jerusalem. In The Last Supper she says goodbye to the city view and to her neighbours who will soon be on the other side of a wall that will transform the West Bank. Issa Friej is an accomplished cameraman, bringing over 25 years of experience working for various news agencies in Palestine to this expertly shot piece. He is also a founder of Al Ma’amal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem.

The Last Ten

Hatem Tag. Drama 6 min, 2014, Gaza.

During Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza, a family in Gaza receives a dreaded phone call from the Israeli military.

The Law in these parts

Ra´anan Alexandrowicz 2001 docu 100 min.

In de enige democratie in het Midden Oosten. Sinds de oorlog van 67 heeft het militaire gezag in de Gaza Strook en de West Bank duizenden bevelen en wetten opgelegd, heeft ze militaire hoven opgericht, duizenden Palestijnen veroordeeld en het een half miljoen kolonisten mogelijk gemaakt om naar de bezette gebieden te verhuizen. Ze hebben een systeem ontwikkeld van langdurige jurisdictie. Orde en rechtvaardigheid gaan niet hand in hand tijdens een militaire bezetting, zeker niet als deze bezetting meer dan 40 jaar duurt, zonder zicht op beëindiging. Docu, geen Nederlandse ondertiteling.

Unique and oddly powerful documentary. Essentially a series of talking heads; interviews with the military judges who presided over the military courts in the territory Israel annexed during the 6 day war.. Mixed in, occasionally playing behind these men on a green screen are snippets of archival footage of the conflicts in the occupied territories. 

Hearing this description, one could well assume the film would be dry and academic, but the ideas beneath what it being quietly discussed are so powerful and disturbing that the film works as a kind of documentary theater piece. By focusing on one specific aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli filmmaker Alexandrwicz gives a deeper sense of the legal and moral hypocrisy and inhumanity of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians than many wider ranging and flashier documentaries. 

By simply having these judges try to explain the odd military justice applied to the native people of the land Israel occupied, and how the courts kept bending and twisting both words and international law to justify their actions, (for example, under the Geneva conventions, an occupying nation is not allowed to move civilians from their country into the occupied land. So how to make the settlements legal? The Israeli supreme court simply changed the wording, saying that henceforth the territories were no longer ‘occupied’ but ‘held’. As if changing the word could justify the behavior — even though just about every Judge uses the term ‘occupied territory’ in the film.) One is left with a sad and sickening feeling. 

As these judges admit to knowing that an accused had been tortured into confessions, that not only the accused but even the judges themselves were often not allowed to know the details of the case and the accusations, that the judges had to simply take the word of the army prosecutors, since just about everything was labeled ‘classified’, it’s hard not to see echoes of the recent legal overreach in America towards accused terrorists. 

The personalities of the judges are fascinating as well. Some clearly feel guilt about their actions, other ambivalence, others are defensive, and yet others seem to blithely miss just how twisted and sad their self-justification sounds. 

Whatever you feel about the incredibly complex middle east situation, where there is plenty of guilt on all sides, this film is a powerful indictment of when the supposed ‘rule of law’ becomes instead a cudgel to control a people, and justify questionable policy.

I found the film only grew on a second viewing. Far from feeling repetitive I was able to follow in even deeper detail, and contemplate in more depth the complex issues being examined. I found myself more emotionally effected. I also was able to more fully appreciate just how inventively the film-makers had incorporated green screen techniques to give an unusual power to their interviews, and create as documentary that was actually quite cinematic, in it’s unique way.

Leila and the wolves

Heiny Srour 1984 fiction 90 min.

As bold politically as it is aesthetically, Leila and the Wolves is a signal work in the history of feminist filmmaking in the Middle East, and a key moment in the wider shaping of “Third Cinemas”. Using a compelling narrative structure, Srour examines roles played by Palestinian and Lebanese women in their national struggles. The eponymous Leila, an exiled curator preparing an exhibition of Palestinian photography, serves as a launching pad for the film’s challenge to erasures of Arab women from history. Leila looks to recentre women in Arab history, yet she refuses to mimic a masculinised discourse of heroism in doing so. Leila’s reflections gradually see this central character multiply and migrate as she transcends a series of female roles, each of which reveal an element of social oppression, sustain a call for resistance. Of this pursuit of new narrative forms, Srour has commented: “Those of us from the third world have to reject the idea of film narration based on the 19th century bourgeois novels with its commitment to harmony. Our societies have been too lacerated and fractured by colonial power to fit into those neat scenarios.”

Leila Khaled: Hijacker

Lina Makboul 2007 docu 54 min.

Sitting in the departure lounge at the airport in Rome she looked like a posh lady. She had bought the white dress a couple of days earlier in the exclusive shop by the Spanish Steps to match her handbag. She wore a white sun hat with an extra strap. It wouldn’t fall off if there was a fight. And she was pretty sure there would be. It was August the 29th, 1969 when TWA flight 840 took off for Tel Aviv. A short while into the journey passengers were addressed via the intercom: “Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please: kindly fasten your seatbelts, this is your new captain speaking from The Che Guevara commando unit of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…” 24 year old Leila Khaled had just become the first woman ever to hijack an airplane. In Leila Khaled: Hijacker Swedish Palestinian director, Lina Makboul explores the iconic enigma that is Leila Khaled, drawing on exclusive new interview materials and archival footage to unravel the layers of ideology, myth and reality which attend this timeless symbol of Palestinian resistance.

The Lemon Tree

Eran Riklis 2008 fiction 106 min.

2009, DVD, MPI Home Video, Hebrew with English subtitles. Salma Zidane, a lonely Palestinan widow tends a lemon grove along the Green Line dividing Palestine from the West Bank. When the Israeli defense minister, Israel Navon and his wife, Mira move in next door, the lemon grove is seen as a threat as a potential hideout for terrorists. Salma springs into action, hiring a recently-divorced lawyer, Ziad Daud to take her fight to the courts. Then the media gets wind of the skirmish and paints it as a classic David versus Goliath story, but the Israeli Supreme Court will have the final say.

A long hot summer in Palestine

by Norma Marcos (director and producer), documentary 74 min. France 2017. English and French subtitles.

Trailer: |

Synopsis director Norma Marcos:
‘My film A long hot summer in Palestine is about the war of summer 2014 in Gaza,
seen from the West Bank. I was shooting a film on women with my niece Yara who was in my previous film and the “normal” daily life in the West Bank before the war on Gaza in
June 2014. “I’m 16 and I’ve already been through three wars” said Farah Baker, a Palestinian girl in a tweet read by 70,000 people after the bombing of her house in Gaza. Shocked by this tweet, I knew that my film will take another direction. I then took my camera and encountered Palestinians in the West Bank. Through an artist, banker, a florist, a woman race driver, a woman mayor… we discover how they are affected by this conflict in their daily life, their solidarity towards Gaza and how  they rebuild their society despite the Israeli oppression and violence.

Contact: Norma MARCOS; Phone: + 33 1 40 31 88 87; Mobile: + 33 6 66 41 11 40;

Lesh Sabreen? (Why Sabreen?)

Mouyad Alayan 2009 fiction 20 min.

Mouyad Alayan’s short drama is set in a Palestinian neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Lesh Sabreen? tells the story of two young lovers as they navigate dreams and deadends in their sociallyconservative and Israelicontrolled community. Sabreen and Ayman dream of being together. However, Ayman will never be able to care for Sabreen in a way that her father would approve of. Alayan’s awardwinning film exposes the layers of authority, from patriarchal social norms and taboos, to economic pressures and military occupation, that young Palestinian Jerusalemites face daily. Will the young lovers be able to realize their dreams in spite of these difficulties?

The Lesson

Director: Anat Zuria Docu Israel 2012 87 minutes ArabicHebr

Layla, a sixty-something, Egyptian-born woman has had multiple failed attempts in passing her driving test, but her last best chance is with Nimar, the top driving instructor in Jerusalem, whom she begins practicing with. The lessons turn into cathartic confessions as Anat Zuria’s crew tags along to watch the lessons and catches Layla, recounting the story of her life—her family in Egypt in the midst of a revolution, her broken marriage to an abusive husband and the struggles of her children, particularly her daughter, Hagar, who is preparing to marry a Jewish man. The Lesson is a major new work from Zuria, whose previous films Sentenced to Marriage and Black Bus explored the prohibitions faced by women in Israel, and who Haaretz called “one of the most riveting women in the local film world.”
Themes: Documentary

Letters from Al Yarmouk

Rashid Masharawi | Palestine | 2014 | DCP | Arabic | Englisf subtitles | 59 min.

Messages captured at the Yarmouk refugee camp in moments of extreme complexity; messages siding with life in the face of death; moments of love in a time of war and questions of homeland and exile.


Life Sentences

Director: Nurit Kedar & Yaron Shani 2013, Arabic, English, Hebrew, 92 minutes

An Arab man and Jewish woman marry and give birth to a girl and a boy. They live in quiet harmony in an Arab-Jewish community. So when dozens of mysterious terror attacks tremble the state of Israel in the late 1960s, no one suspects the Arab father. When he is caught, the mother flees the country with her kids and settles in the heart of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Montreal, Canada. The boy and the girl study shoulder to shoulder with other religious Jewish kids, ignorant of their origins. But in a surprising twist to an already shocking story, the siblings confront their roots as the grow up and take opposite roads—one becoming ultra-Orthodox, the other becoming Muslim.
Themes: Documentary, Family

Ligne verte (The green line)

Laurent Mareschal 2005 animatie 4 min.

A panning shot follows a wallpainting. This ‘trompe l’oeil’ painting actually represents the landscape beyond the wall. Slowly it turns to life the concrete begins to tremble as if the plants were growing inside it. This part of the wall has been recently built in Jerusalem…The viewer does not know on which side of the wall the camera is located until the end of the piece. Then, as the organic life figured by the painting defeats the concrete of the wall, bringing it crumbling down, we see yet more wall continuing into the distance, scarring the landscape like a sinister sculpture. Awardwinning French sculptor Mareschal’s short animation combines stunning animation techniques with symbolic simplicity to contrast the brutality of the wall with the drive for survival essential to nature.

Like twenty imposibles

Annemarie Jacir 2003 fiction 17 min.

When a Palestinian film crew decides to avert a closed checkpoint by taking a remote side road, the political landscape unravels, and the passengers are slowly taken apart by the mundane brutality of military occupation. Both a visual poem and a narrative, ‘Like Twenty Impossibles’ wryly questions artistic responsibility and the politics of filmmaking, while speaking to the fragmentation of a people.” (from the director’s website).

Lissa Aisha
(also knon as: Aisha)

by Asmaa Bseiso, docu 70 min. Palestine/Lebanon/Jordan 2016

In a tribal country where the family name and status are very significant, Aisha, a 27 years old psychology graduate was abandoned by her parents at the age of months and raised in the orphanage.
Aisha addresses parts of her childhood in those shelters that have left her the person she is today; those abusive milestones.
Asmaa Bseiso is a film and documentary director and writer who started her film career in 2007. Bseiso made a number of short documentaries and worked for a number of TV stations,


Little Jerusalem

by Zena Agha 2017 | Documentary, 7 min

Little Jerusalem tells the story of Andala – a Palestinian-owned cafe in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The owner, Sami Herbawi, narrates his life outside his birthplace of Jerusalem and his experience in the diaspora.

The Living of the Pigeons

Baha’ Abu Shanab, docu 16 min, Palestina, 2015, Arabisch met Engelse ondertitels.
Its 1:30 after midnight, the cold is sneaking. The streets leading to the checkpoint named ‘300’ which allocated to cross from Bethlehem to Jerusalem are empty and silent. The apartheid wall touches the checkpoint; the coffee man is preparing his stuff, while close to him, his father who passed over his 50s already started displaying their wares on wooden planks to be seen. All awaits the arrival of hundreds of workers shortly after, and what will happen next is something that eyes don’t often see.

The Lobby

Benny Brunner 2003 docu 25 min.

Considering the proIsraeli attitude of every recent U.S. administration, it is often suggested that a Jewish of proIsrael lobby dictates Washington’s policy. But does an organized lobby really have a direct influence on U.S. foreign policy? The Lobby is a balanced examination of this controversial subject.

The Long Night (Al Layl Al Taweel)

Hatem Ali 2009 fiction 94 min.

The Long Night (Al Layl Al Taweel) is amongst the boldest and most unique feature length dramas in the conditional oeuvre of Syrian cinema. Four prisoners are about to be released after serving 20 years as political detainees. About to return to society, they grapple with complications that have developed in their absence: new towns, new ideologies but most of all, new family dynamics. Questions arise as to what extent their political dissidence was worth their separations from families and the losses their loved ones have endured. While some stand fast to their choices, others look to turn a new page… Made in 2009, the film is yet to be released in Syria, despite being a production ostensibly supported by the regime. The film, while reflecting a short era of reconciliation and reduced censorship attempted by Bashar Al Assad, remains highly relevant today for its treatments of forced loyalty signatures, arbitrary judgements, and systematic torture. The Long Night has won numerous awards, including at Cairo and New Delhi film festivals.


Sobhi Zobaidi docudrama 29 min
A Palestinian filmmaker is commissioned by an American organisation to make a documentary film, which is to depict Jerusalem as a city of peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs.
But and while making the film, the filmmaker keeps running into situations that are very different from what he is trying to depict. The reality of things on the ground, proves to be much stronger than its representation. It reaches a point where the filmmaker decides that he is unable to finish the film.

Palestine 2001, Sobhi al-Zobaidi, docudrama, shortfilm, 29 min, Arabic/ English 
Subtitles: English / Arabic
PAL, region free

Jerusalem, Self-Determination, Religions, Film-Making, 2nd Intifada, Palestine, Violence

Looted and Hidden – Palestinian Archives in Israel

by Rona Sela 2017 | Docu, 45 min

Looted and Hidden investigates the cinematic and other archival treasures that Israel plundered from various Palestinian visual and research institutions in Beirut in the 1980s. The film follows four historical figures who are involved in the fate of these Palestinian archives. Based entirely on archival materials, extensive research, and interviews with the individuals it portrays, Looted and Hidden exposes, for the first time, Palestinian materials that were erased deliberately from the public sphere by Israel and were, for many years, presumed to have been “lost.”
Looted and Hidden explores how Israel plunders Palestinian archives and treasures and conceals Palestinian history from the public sphere through control mechanisms, including seizure, deliberate censorship and classification, restrictions on viewing, prevention of materials being returned to their owners, misinterpretation of indigenous materials, erasure, and more.

Lost cities of Palestine

An extraordinary insight into Palestinian life in the city before 1948, revealing the loss of a culture and lifestyle.
Ramez Kazmouz docu 2011 49 min.

Rarely seen archival footage accompanies memories and accounts of forgotten Palestinian cities and the catastrophic effect the creation of Israel in 1948 had on them.
Haifa, Nazareth, and Jaffa have all been overshadowed by Tel Aviv, but in their day each of the Palestinian cities had magnificent commercial and cultural ability.
Made for Al Jazeera Arabic in 2011, “Lost cities of Palestine” provides a rare opportunity to see Palestine as it was in the 30s and 40s and learn about the everyday life and culture of urban Palestine before 1948.
Source: Al Jazeera

Love, Theft and other Entanglements

Director: Muayad Alyan. 2015, speelfilm. 94minuten.
Mousa gets into the trouble of his life when he steals the wrong car. What he thought was an Israeli car and an easy way to make money in his impoverished Palestinian refugee camp turns out to be a load of misfortune when he discovers a kidnapped Israeli soldier in the trunk. 
Mousa’s hopes of paying the bribe that will guarantee him an exit visa out of the country and away from his wrecked love affair dissipate as he finds himself on the run from Palestinian militias and the Israeli intelligence.

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