Cinema Palestina 32

Cinema Palestina (w)
Waiting for Giraffes

Marco de Stefanis, documentary 84 min. Netherlands / Belgium, 2016, 84 min. V

After two intifadas and the construction of the Israeli wall, the only Palestinian zoo is still there and is now seeking for international recognition and to replace their lost

Rashid Masharawi 2005 Drama 90 min.
Film Review: Rashid Masharawi’s “Waiting”
Ali Abunimah The Electronic Intifada 8 May 2006
Scene from Waiting, Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi’s latest feature.
A young woman stands before a camera refusing to take the chair the director has set up. He asks why? “I have come to sing,” she says. Irritated, the director orders her, “You must act, didn’t they tell you we are looking for actors here?” With calm assertion she insists, “I do not know how to act. I have come to sing. Come on, you film and I will sing…”
HYPERLINK “” \t “_blank” This scene illustrates a main theme running through Rashid Masharawi’s latest feature film Waiting.Since the Oslo peace process began, Palestinians have been cast in the role of an emerging nation on its way to statehood. When they have tried to speak about the entirely different reality they face—enduring exile, continued alienation from their land, and Israel’s systematic assault on them and their national and community institutions—they have been silenced. They are asked to speak only if they are ready to read from a script written for them by those in power in the so-called international community.
In the plot of Waiting, the camera before which the young woman auditions can be understood as the eye of the watching world. The cameraman, Lumière (Youssef Baroud), his director Ahmad (Mahmoud al-Massad), and Bissan (Areen Omari), a journalist who worked for Palestinian television before it was bombed out of existence by Israel, have been sent on a mission. The European Union is funding the construction of a grandiose National Palestinian Theater in Gaza, with seats for thousands and underground parking for 500 vehicles. The opening is to be attended by dozens of world leaders. The only problem is there are no actors in the theater. The team have been dispatched to the refugee camps of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon to audition Palestinians.
Their auditions and encounters are often hilarious and sometimes poignant. Shot on location at Bakaa camp in Amman, at a refugee cultural center in Damascus and at Shatila camp in Lebanon, the filmmaker blurs the line between fiction and documentary. Refugees play themselves, and in doing so we see more of their humanity than we would if they were merely objects of a documentary.
Al-Massad, himself an accomplished filmmaker (his film Hassan the Clever was screened at CPFF 2003), plays Ahmad, a man who is hours away from leaving Palestine for good when he is persuaded to take on the assignment of finding actors. Reluctantly he agrees and quickly grows frustrated as those who come for auditions seemingly refuse to cooperate. While he orders them to act, they want to speak a different truth. Like the young woman who chose to sing, others want to send messages to a lost father or severed branches of their families, unreachable through any other means. A young mother admits that she is not an actress but will say anything to be allowed to go back to Palestine with the film crew, to find her husband so he can meet their daughter.

Anne Marie Jacir facilitates a discussion between Rashid Masharawi and an audience at the Gene Siskel Film Center, where Waiting was screened as part of the Chicago Palestine Film Festival 2006. Masharawi was unable to get a visa to attend in person. (Photo: Matt Cassel)
Anyone who has spent time in a refugee camp will recognize the scenes of Palestinians, young and old, sitting and waiting for some service or document from powers over which they have little control. As they now sit waiting for a chance to audition, Bissan’s phone rings. It is the director of the national theater project, calling to say that once again the venture is delayed, but the international community promises that it will eventually go on. Rather than send the people home disappointed, Ahmad allows them to audition but refuses to give them any direction except to order the would-be actor to interpret the role of “a man who is waiting.”
Waiting explores what it means to be Palestinian in a context where everyone is separated by such seemingly insurmountable barriers. The obstacles faced by the fictional characters in the film as they cross from Palestine into Jordan and from Jordan into Syria with unrecognized passports represent the true challenges faced by Masharawi, as he explained to the audience by speakerphone from Paris at the Chicago premiere on Saturday May 6. Masharawi was due to be present in person but could not apply for a U.S. visa without getting a new Palestinian Authority passport from Gaza. He could not go to Gaza because he could not guarantee that he would be allowed to leave when he wanted to. Waiting combines sharp political satire and comedy while maintaining its warmth, humanity and sincerity.
Waiting can be viewed only once more at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival, on Wednesday 10 at 6PM, at the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State Street, Chicago). The film is not available on DVD or video.


by Annemarie Jacir, fiction 97 min. Palestine 2017. Language Arabic with English subtitles
Producer Ossama Bawardi/Philistine Films. Production Company  Philistine Films

Abu Shadi is a divorced father in his mid-sixties living in Nazareth. After his daughter Amal’s wedding, in one month he will be living alone. Shadi, his son, arrives from Rome after years abroad to help his father in hand delivering the wedding invitations to each guest as per local Palestinian custom. As the estranged pair spend the day together going house-to-house to deliver the invitations, the tense details of their relationship come to a head challenging their fragile and very different lives.
Annemarie Jacir:

Annemarie Jacir has two films premiering as official selections of the Cannes Film Festival, one in Venice, Berlin and Locarno. She has written, directed and produced over sixteen films. With a commitment to teaching, training and hiring locally, Annemarie also curates, actively promoting independent cinema in the region. Founder of Philistine Films, she collaborates regularly with fellow filmmakers. She also teaches screenwriting and works as a freelance editor and screenwriter.

Walah's Corner Store

Amina Waheed, docu 25 min. USA 2014.
“Walah” runs a small corner store in Englewood, one of Chicago’s poorest neighbourhoods on the city’s south side. A Palestinian immigrant, he belongs to a large population of Arab-Americans, who own the majority of businesses in the predominantly black neighbourhood. This was once a thriving centre for black owned businesses in the 1960s and 70s, but today it is struggling with violent crime and profound neglect. Falah Farhoudeh (aka “Walah”), is a Middle Eastern emigre in his late 60s who has operated a convenience store in Englewood for about a decade. But he is no mere business owner but a crucial part of the community, providing an ex-convict with a job, giving food to customers even when they cannot pay, and offering good counsel to anyone who wants it.The film plunges into the inner workings of a small business in a tough neighbourhood and the delicate racial balance of two very different communities co-existing. Walah’s Corner Store manages to say a good deal about inner-city US in general and Englewood in particular, and gives an insight into another vision of the American Dream.
Abu Muhammad’s story is a familiar one. Forced to leave his home in Palestine in the lead up to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, he survived exile by roaming from one country to the next in search of work. He finally settled in the US a little over 20 years ago, where he tried his hand at a variety of businesses. His life is defined by a constant hustle, and his will to survive makes him more like his customers, than he might realise. Abu Muhammad is not perfect. He rails on the idea of welfare, but creates a kind of lending programme for his customers. He does not sell alcohol, but still sells junk food. Regardless, Abu Muhammad commands respect, something neighbourhood residents say they do not feel walking into other stores.

A wall is a wall is a wall…

Cecilia ParsbergMunkbergGomez 2004 Anaimatie 5 min.

Set to an intricate audio montage created by Dave Watts of UKbased sonic pioneers, FunMental, this short animation piece by Parsberg, Gomez and Munkberg represents an unusual artistic engagement with Israel’s wall, employing 3D graphic modeling and evocative impressionistic shapes.

Waltz with Bashir

Ari Folman Animation Israël 2008 90 min.

In 1982, “Ari Folman” Ari Folman was a 19-year-old IDF infantry soldier. In 2006, he meets with a friend from that period, who tells him of the nightmares he’s having connected to his experiences from the “1982 Lebanon War” Lebanon War. Folman is surprised to find that he recalls nothing from that period. Later that night he has a vision from the night of the” \o “Sabra and Shatila massacre” Sabra and Shatila massacre, the reality of which he is unable to clearly recall. In his memory, he and his soldier comrades are bathing at night by the seaside in “Beirut” Beirut under the light of flares descending over the city.
Folman rushes off to meet a childhood friend, who advises him to seek out others who were in Beirut at the same time, to understand what happened there and to revive his own memories. Folman converses with friends and other soldiers who served in the war, among others a psychologist, and Israeli TV reporter “Ron Ben-Yishai” Ron Ben-Yishai, who covered Beirut at the time. Folman eventually realizes that he “was in the second or third ring” of soldiers surrounding the “Palestinian refugee camp” Palestinian refugee camp where the carnage was perpetrated, and that he was among those soldiers firing flares into the sky to illuminate the refugee camp for the “Lebanese Christian” Lebanese Christian” \o “Kataeb Party” Phalange militia perpetrating the massacre inside. He concludes that his amnesia stemmed from his feeling as a teenage soldier that he was as guilty of the massacre as those who actually carried it out. The film ends with animation dissolving into actual footage of the aftermath of the massacre.

War and Peace in Vesoul

The directors of this 16mm French-Israeli documentary, Palestinian  Elia Suleiman Amos Gitai, travel from Paris to the War and Peace Film Festival in Vesoul. On the train, the longtime friends chat about their pasts in Haifa and Nazareth, their passports, and foreign travel. In Vesoul, they meet with both the festival director and the French-speaking press (with Gitai translating for Suleiman). Shown at the 1997 Venice Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi

The War Around Us

Abdallah Omeish 2012 | Documentary | 75 min
The War Around Us is the true story of the only two international journalists on the ground in Gaza as Israel bombarded and invaded in 2008-9 in ‘Operation Cast Lead.’ Al Jazeera’s Cairo-born, Arab-American Sherine Tadros reported from Gaza City throughout the 22-day assault.
This riveting and introspective award-winning film chronicles the bonds of friendships under stress, the ethics of journalism in conflict, and people’s resilience during war. It also provides a window into understanding the catastrophic experience that Palestinians in Gaza have just lived through again during the far more devastating ‘Operation Protective Edge’ in the summer of 2014.
Both journalists were back on the ground again in Gaza this past summer, reporting on the next round of war.

War Matador

Avner FaingulerntMacabit Abramson 2011 docu 70 min.

In January 2009, during the war on Gaza, many Israelis travelled from all over the country to observe the bombs falling and heavy smoke rising from the Gaza Strip. At times a carnival atmosphere prevailed, as spectators exhibited an alarming level of enthusiasm for these scenes of overwhelming firepower and distant suffering. With its title suggesting parallels with the macabre rituals of a bull fight, War Matador is a disquieting essay about voyeurism and nationalism, suffering and tourism, in a context of a lasting asymmetric conflict.

War Photographer

Christian Frei documentary US 2001, 96 min.

War Photographer is a “Documentary film” documentary by “Christian Frei” Christian Frei about the photographer “James Nachtwey” James Nachtwey. As well as telling the story of an iconic man in the field “War photography” war photography, the film addresses the broader scope of ideas common to all those involved in war journalism, as well as the issues that they cover.
The documentary won a 2003 “Peabody Award” Peabody Award, and was nominated for an “74th Academy Awards” Academy Award in 2002 and an “Emmy Award” Emmy Award in 2004. It also won or was nominated for more than 40 other awards internationally. “cite_note-official-site-1” [1] War journalism
One of the main themes of the documentary is the level to which a journalist should become involved in the events that they are there to document. “James Nachtwey” James Nachtwey credits the intimacy of his photography to his emphasis on establishing a rapport with his subjects, often despite a significant language barrier. Des Wright, a cameraman with “Reuters” Reuters, describes the problem of being too far removed from what is happening. Discussing a video reel of President “Suharto” Suharto’s resignation and a police crackdown on protestors, he notes: “[Some journalists] say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m a journalist, I’m not a part of this.’ And I say, but you are a part of it. I think a lot of people would be quite happy for that man to be killed so they can get the particular picture that they want.”
The documentary uses footage filmed with a small “microcam” video camera mounted on Nachtwey’s “Single-lens reflex camera” SLR cameras. This technique gives a sense of immediacy to the viewer, showing events from the perspective of the photographer. So for the first time in the history of documentary films about photographers, thanks to a small camera attached to James’ body, the director reflects a real look into the work of a photojournalist.
A photo is not just an image; it is a trace of reality, an experience captured, a moment. Photography is an art that gives importance to events and makes them worth remembering. It is about telling the reality; about showing what other people are not able to see, to make them aware of it through the images they receive from the media. Thus, when the picture serves as informing, we find ourselves facing at other art- photojournalism. As James Nachtwey states: “If everyone could be there to see for themselves the fear and the grief, just one time, then they would understand that nothing is worth letting things get to the point where that happens to even one person, let alone thousands. But everyone cannot be there, and that is why photographers go there, to show them, to reach out and grab them and make them stop what they are doing and pay attention to what is going on, to create pictures powerful enough to overcome the diluting effects of the mass media and shake people out of their indifference, to protest, and by the strength of that protest to make others protest.

The Way back home

Ghada Terawi (van Shashat):

The film is a journey in the lives of three Palestinians – Ghada, the filmmaker, Munira, the actress and Husni, the painter. 
Ghada, who raises the question of “home”, takes a journey into her own past, looking for answers. 
Through this journey we are introduced to her scattered family, their history as fidae’s (PLO fighters). 
Through Ghada’s quest for answers we encounter Munira, who is searching for a better life in Palestine after a life in the Diaspora for nearly 35 years. 
Her search for a better financial, professional and personal life exposes us to her Diasporic life, moving from Kuwait to Tunisia to Amman and finally to Palestine. 
Husni’s journey is more internal. It is a search for an identity which eluded him in exile. 
He returned to Palestine, as others did after the Oslo Peace Accords. 
During the last 11 years his search for identity has intensified, but he has not been able to find what he is searching for….so he retreats more and more inside himself.

We Are Here – Young Gaza on Stage

by Sabrina Dittus, Palestine 2016, Docu, 55 min

After the first Israeli attack on Gaza 2008-9, the ASHTAR theater in Ramallah organized a global project following Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed methods: 31 Gazan youths aged 14-18 engaged in intensive workshops and developed monologues expressing their dreams, fears, frustrations, and aspirations before, during, and after the war—memoirs of 22 days of living hell during which at least 1,380 Palestinians died, 431 of whom were children. On October 17, 2010, children from 40 countries performed the monologues simultaneously starting in Gaza. The theatre-play has since been presented in over 40 countries—but never by the writers themselves, because Israel would not allow them to leave the besieged and militarily enclosed Gaza Strip.
In 2016, after two more Israeli wars on Gaza, seven of the youths are invited to perform their Monologues at a Festival in Ramallah. For all, this would be the first time ever to visit the West Bank, also part of their homeland and a mere 1.5 hours’ drive away.
We Are Here accompanies these seven youths while they wait for the decision about their travel permits, hardly daring to hope.

We began by measuring distance

Basma al-Sharif 2009 Drama 19 min.

In Basma al Sharif’s awardwinning video art piece, still frames, text, language, and sound are woven together to unfold the narrative of an anonymous group who fill their time by measuring distance. Innocent measurements transition into political ones, leading to an examination of how image and sound communicate history, tragedy, and the complications of Palestinian nationalism. The work exposes an ultimate disenchantment with the power of “facts” when the visual fails to communicate the content of the tragic. Winner of the Jury Prize, Sharjah Biennale, 2009.

We cannot go there now, my dear

Carole Mansour, docu 42 min. 2014, Libanon, Syrië, Palestina.

Palestinian refugees have been living in Syria since they were forced to Syrians have been affected by the war. Their story, however, is more complex. By fleeing Syria and seeking refuge in Lebanon, they are becoming a special category: the twice-displaced. This film tells part of their story—a story in which memories have been awakened between one exodus and the next; loss permeates all things and invades the soul; and lives are continuously being re-improvised, awaiting a return to the homeland.

We like life tomorrow

Ismail Habbash 2008 docu 31 min.

Director Habbash has produced some of the most exciting and original “social cinema” projects in Palestine over the past decade. Working with fiction and documentary, his work has consistently attended to the experiences of ordinary Palestinian people under occupation, offering them access to the video medium and bringing their voices unvarnished to the wider public in Palestine and abroad. In this bold new project, he goes even further, inviting three Palestinian families to document their own daily lives. Having trained and equipped a family in Gaza, one in the rural outskirts of Jenin in the northern West Bank, and another in the cave dwelling regions to the south of Hebron, Habbash edits and assembles three remarkable ten minute portraits and presents us with a composite sketch of daily life for the ordinary people of Palestine, through their own eyes.

Wedding in Galilee

Michel Khleifi 1987 Palestina Fictiefilm 113 min.
Wedding in Galilee is generally considered as the first film of the Palestinian New Wave, that is, the birth of an independent Palestinian cinema in Israel and the Occupied Territories.
Through a traditional wedding, in a village under curfew, in the presence of the Occupier (who invited himself), Michel Khleifi shows that the wedding between Israelis and Palestinians is clearly impossible as long as occupation and dispossession continue.

Welcome Home

Frans Bromet, docu 90 min. Nederland, 2015

Filmmaker Frans Bromet is de zoon van een Joodse vader, maar zelf voelt hij zich niet echt Joods. Over de politieke rol van Israël is hij behoorlijk kritisch. Op zoek naar de oorsprong van een vete binnen zijn familie trekt Bromet naar Israël, waar hij zijn geëmigreerde tante en twee achterneven bezoekt, die hij wegens de familieruzie nog nooit heeft ontmoet. Met zijn bekende schaamteloze, haast naïeve interviewstijl bevraagt hij zijn familieleden en andere Nederlandse joden die de aliyah – de verhuizing naar het “heilige land” – hebben ondernomen. Waarom willen ze in een oorlogsgebied wonen? Is Israël echt zoveel veiliger dan Amstelveen? En waarom strandt elke discussie in een beschuldiging van antisemitisme? Terwijl hij langzaam de oorzaak van het familieconflict ontrafelt, merkt de filmmaker dat zijn gebrouilleerde familieleden veel weg hebben van de strijdende partijen in Israël. Als een klein misverstand al leidt tot een generaties lang slepend conflict in zijn eigen familie, kunnen de grote problemen in het Midden-Oosten dan wel ooit worden opgelost? Bromets persoonlijke zoektocht en zijn basale vragen over Israël vormen een originele benadering van het onderwerp, die toch weer nieuwe inzichten biedt op het aloude conflict.

Welcome to Hebron

Terje Carlsson 2007 docu 55 min.

Filmed in Hebron, the West Bank, this debut documentary by Swedish journalist Terje Carlsson is centred around a touching portrait of 17year old Leila Sarsour. A student at the AlQurtuba school, Leila’s home and community is surrounded by Israeli military outposts, checkpoints and settlements. Leila speaks about the oppression that impacts upon her life and those of her friends and family – in the form of relentless attacks, harassment and bullying by soldiers and settlers. Carlsson’s film is at once a portrait of one young woman’s daily triumphs over oppression and adversity, and of the tortured city of Hebron itself.

Welcome to inspection point

Alana Avery
This informative documentary is a journey through the West Bank with Palestinians who have lived under occupation for decades. They face daily oppression not just at checkpoints and roadblocks, but extending into their schools, homes and businesses. Encircled by The Separation Wall, geographically fractured by fences or road closures, forced to live in refugee camps, and surrounded by surveillance towers and soldiers, this is everyday life in the West Bank. Filmed on a minuscule budget as part of a student report, Alana Avery’s documentary is a firsthand insight into the many impediments to normal life for Palestinians living under occupation.

Welcome to Shatila

Raad Raad 2008 docu 2 min.

Famous throughout the world as the site of the 1982 massacres, the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, is also, and firstly, a home to thousands of Palestinian refugees – survivors, children, fighters, merchants, artists, businessmen… This short from the Studio Camps collective consists of a portraitmontage of the camp as a vibrant space of daily life and daily struggle. The independent collective is comprised of Palestinian and Lebanese artists and creates experimental artwork and media across various genres and platforms. From their statement: “we work in collaboration with our peoples who deal with the burdens of imperialism and economic injustice every day. Most of our inspiration and work comes from the Palestinian Refugee Camps.”

West Beirut

Ziad Doueiri 1998 Drama 105 min.

This directorial debut from Tarantino cameraman, Doueiri is a semiautobiographical account of his childhood in Lebanon during the civil war. The film features superb performances from a young cast whose characters explore warravaged Beirut with their Super 8 camera, bearing witness to the increasingly brutal war from a youthful, naive and exuberant perspective. Doueiri has said that ‘during the first years of the civil war, despite the anxiety that I could sense in my parents, I was incapable of feeling it myself…I wasn’t born with fear I acquired it.’ His beautifully shot film offers an account of the process by which excitement and freedom was turned into fear and exile. Winner – FIPRESCI Award Toronto International Film Festival, 1998 Best First Film Award Carthage Film Festival, 1998.

West ... East

Rina Khoury 2006 Drama 8 min.

Rina Khoury’s awardwinning short is a snapshot of the expulsions of 1948. West … Beginning of the journey East … End of the journey… This path was taken by many villagers fleeing their home seeking refuge… Amer and his blind mother were among these refugees… They embarked on this journey not knowing where it would lead and how long they would be able to survive it…” (director’s statement). Set in a deceptively lush fig orchard, the mother and son’s exhaustion and the distant rumbling of artillery hint at the horrors of the Nakba.

What everybody knows

Ayreen AnastasRené Gabri 2006 docu

In the spring of 2006, Ayreen Anastas (Pasolini Pa* Palestine) and Rene Gabri travelled to Palestine/Israel, searching, researching, and witnessing circumstances in the country. They created a series of videos that document their encounters with people struggling, resisting, surviving, suffering and living everyday lives. They meet a geographer, a professor, an activist, a former detainee, an architect, bedouin. What Everybody Knows is an attempt to think about the question of Palestine and articulate it through the experiences that these characters offer. The video moves between documentary and experimental structures, and covers an immense political and geographical expanse as it brings these living testimonials together in an epic journey into the core of the Palestinian experience in Israel/Palestine today.

What's next?

Ghada Terawi 2004 drama 40 min.

March 29th, 2002 was a turning point in the history of Ramallah. Israeli troops armed invaded the city with tanks and aerial support, crushing all resistance and bringing all aspects of life in the city to a fearful, grinding, paralysing halt. In Terawi’s film, which covers the period leading up to, during and immediately after these events, three friends share their experiences of anticipation, confusion, siege, and curfew. Although united by shared feelings of frustration and anger, they are still able to laugh about their tragedy and are determined to withstand this latest aggression and to restore their lives and hopes all over again.

Whem I saw you

Annemarie Jacir Fiction Palestine/Lebanon 2012 93 min.

1967. The world is alive with change: brimming with reawakened energy, new styles, music and an infectious sense of hope. In Jordan, a different kind of change is underway as tens of thousands of refugees pour across the border from Palestine. Having been separated from his father in the chaos of war, Tarek, 11, and his mother Ghaydaa, are amongst this latest wave of refugees. Placed in “temporary” refugee camps made up of tents and prefab houses until they would be able to return, they wait, like the generation before them who arrived in 1948. With difficulties adjusting to life in Harir camp and a longing to be reunited with his father, Tarek searches a way out, and discovers a new hope emerging with the times. Eventually his free spirit and curious nature lead him to a group of people on a journey that will change their lives. When I Saw You is the story of people affected by the times around them, in search of something more in their lives. A journey full of adventure, love, humor…


When pigs have wings
(Le cochon de Gaza)

Sylvain Estibal Comedy Belgium/Germany/France 2011 98 min.

After a tempest, fishermen do not find only fish in their nets. That is what happens to Jafaar, a poor fisherman who lives poorly in Gaza. And what he hauls in is really upsetting : imagine that, a pig! An unclean animal judged impure not only by the Faith of Islam but also by the Jewish religion. Determined to get rid of the animal, Jafaar tries desperately to sell it, first to a United Nations official, then to a Jewish colony where Yelena raises pigs not for their meat but for security reasons. Of course, going unnoticed in the company of a “forbidden” animal, among his Palestinian brothers, past Israeli soldiers and under the scrutiny of Islamic fundamentalists is no bed of roses and a series of misadventures await Jafaar….


When the Boys Return

A group of Palestinian youths try to come to terms with their experience of being jailed by Israel.
Filmmaker: Tone Andersen Docu 2012 58 min.
In Hebron in the West Bank, 11 young Palestinian men come together each week in a room at the YMCA.

All of them have spent time in Israeli jails. They are just a few of the 7,500 Palestinian minors aged between 12 and 18 who have gone through the prison system over the past 11 years.

The arrests of these youngsters, undertaken by the Israeli army, often happen at night. The most common charge is stone-throwing and the average sentence is two years.
Upon release, many former detainees display symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and almost all find it difficult to slip back into the position they occupied in their families and communities prior to arrest.

Among the group are 15-year-old Mohammad Jamil, who was newly-released from prison when filming commenced, and 17-year-old Hamze Mahfouz.

Mohammad spends some days at demonstrations and some nights wandering the streets of his neighbourhood, coming close to re-arrest several times during filming. Eventually persuaded to enrol in a vocational course in car mechanics, he begins at last to settle in, much to his own surprise.

Hamze is articulate and polite, but struggles with aggression – often demonstrated through physical assaults on his brother – and is desperate to be the first son in his family to sit and pass the Tawjihi (senior high school exam).

Mohammad, Hamze and the group live with the fear that they could be re-arrested and taken back into prison at any time.
When the boys return follows the group over 10 weeks as they take part in a structured course of therapy, run by counsellor Nader Khallaf, aimed at helping them re-integrate into normal life.

This subtle, moving and well-crafted film lays bare the challenges the youths face as they try to rebuild their lives in the face of the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Where should the birds fly

Fida Qista 2012 docu 58 min.

Docu over Gaza. Palestine | 2012 | Fida Qishta | 58 minutes | Arabic with English subtitles. Where Should The Birds Fly is the compelling and moving story of two remarkable young women, the future of Palestine, who personify the struggle to maintain humanity, humor and hope, to find some degree of normality in the brutal abnormality that has been imposed on them. Mona is an 11 year old girl of remarkable wisdom. Her family died under Israeli rockets. Fida Qishta, the filmmaker, is a 27 year old journalist. With her crew she has documented the lives of the people of Gaza. This is a Palestinian film, the first made by Palestinians. But it is a story that resonates across the bitter history of man’s inhumanity to man: in the oil soaked poverty of the Niger Delta, in the destroyed state of Iraq, in the fierce resistance of the Warsaw Ghetto. A young girl sits among the rubble of her family home. She talks of the many people she knows who have been killed. When asked if she lost many family members she says: “Not many. Just my mother, my father and my brother.” Mona is 10 years old. Omar stands before the rubble of the house he began building on the day his first son was born. Over the next twelve years he painstakingly added brick upon brick, wiring, plumbing, a new room, another floor. A fine house for his growing family, filled with precious mementos, well-kept furniture, wall hangings, children’s toys, all the necessary silver and flatware for daily meals and special dinners. Twelve years to the day of his son’s birth the bulldozers plowed into his home, destroying his family’s shelter, possessions and security. As the camera attempts to record the effect of this devastation, to read his emotions, he raises his hands gently: “What are we supposed to do now?” Fida Qishta, a young Palestinian filmmaker and journalist from Rafah in Gaza has documented the horrific Israeli invasion and bombardment of Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. Working with her crew of young Gazans, they have kept the cameras rolling for months, recording the struggle of the people of Gaza to retrieve some sense of normalcy from the absolute abnormality of life in the world’s largest prison camp, sealed off on all sides by Israeli and Egyptian walls, barbed wire and military.


War of Antiquities

by Lana Shaheen; documentary 26 min. Palestine, 2016. Arabic, English ST
A documentary that portrays another aspect of the Palestinian Israeli conflict through shedding light on monuments. The documentary shows how former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan stole Gaza’s antiquities. The documentary presents conclusive evidence on Dayan’s theft of Gaza’s antiquities and treasures. The War of Ruins also highlights the occupation’s attempt at stealing all aspects relevant to Palestinian heritage, from the currency and clothing, to the Kufiyeh as well.
The documentary offers a glimpse of Gaza’s long rich history, and shows its importance on the civilization map since old times. Some of Gaza’s ruins shook the dust off, revealing their secrets and mysteries, while most ruins still await a time devoid of siege and occupation.

What Walaa Wants

Christy Garland, documentary, 89 min. Palestine 2018.


A classic coming-of-age story with a girl-power message, about a bullheaded Palestinian girl who decides to become a police officer.
Raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank, while her mother was in prison, Walaa is determined to survive basic training to become one of the few women on the Palestinian Security Forces – not easy for a girl who breaks all the rules. Following Walaa from 15 to 21, with an intimate POV and the exuberant energy of its subject, this is the story of a young woman navigating formidable obstacles, learning which rules to break and follow, and disproving the negative predictions from her surroundings and the world at large.

Whispers of the Cities

by Kasim Abid; documentary 62 min. UK 2014, no dialogue/words.
This film is made up of three separate visual stories, shot over a period of ten years in three different cities of the Middle East: Erbil in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq (2002), Ramallah in the West Bank, Palestine (2003) and Baghdad (2004 to 2012). There is no dialogue and no narration. It’s requires the viewer to watch and see and feel. 
I lived in these cites temporarily and filmed the life on the streets below from behind windows and on balconies, to reveal the daily struggle of the human spirit in this region, express a faith in their resilience and courage. Once I started to put the material together, I could see that this was a subjective, personal journey to the world close to my heart.

The White Elephant

by Shuruq Harb, documentary 12 min, Palestine 2018, English, Arabic, Hebrew with Arabic subtitles


Using images shared on the Internet by Israelis during the Gulf War, the First Intifada and trance music gatherings, Shuruq Harb composes the portrait of a Palestinian teenager in the 1990s, in the mirror of Israeli pop culture.

Wherever You Go

Israel, 2011, 63 minutes 
Director: Ronny Sasson Angel
Two women’s lives intertwine: one is on her way to see her estranged Jewish Orthodox family; the other is on the run from her Bedouin family who is forcing her into a life without choice. Together, they stand up against their predetermined destinies. 

Co-presented by: AICF

White oil

Judy Price 2013 docu 60 min.

White Oil is a documentary about the quarries in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. With over 500 quarries in the West Bank, stone is considered the ‘white oil’ of Palestine and the only abundant raw material available to support the Palestinian economy. However, of the stone and sand excavated from the quarries, 75% is expropriated by Israel. Today almost every hillside is scarred by the brutal incision of the quarries. In excavating these spaces Judy Price worked with the owners, workers and security guards to explore how the quarries impact on the environment and the lives of the surrounding communities as well as being a vital source of livelihood for many Palestinians. In this way, personal histories and experiences as well as the changing landscape and conditions of the quarries bring to bear the myriad losses of land, economy, identity, history and community.

Wilders: the movie

Joost van der ValkMags Gavan 2010 docu 70 min.

The Dutch far right politician Geert Wilders generates discussion, anger, or admiration wherever he goes. In the Dutch 2010 elections, Wilders’ “Party for Freedom”, or PVV, achieved a major boost, becoming the third largest political party in the Netherlands. Filmmakers Joost van der Valk and Mags Gavan are alarmed as well as fascinated by the phenomenal rise of this charismatically inspired political force. Their film asks who Geert Wilders really is, who the people giving him their vote are, and why he has become so successful. Before as well as during the Dutch elections, the filmmakers seek insights into the motivations of Wilders and his supporters. This investigation leads them to examine a global alignment of farright and Islamophobic political forces, as the film takes us on a journey from the Netherlands to London and the United States, before ending up in Israel.

With Premeditation

Tarzan en Arab Nasser, fiction PALESTINE, 2014 5 min.
What praying can bring about when it is only performed for the sake of social status

Full story:

Women beyond borders

Jean Chamoun 2003 docu 58 min.

Chamoun is the acclaimed Lebanese director of ‘Shadows of the City’ and ‘Hostage of Time’ and together with wife Mai Masri, of numerous documentary films including ‘Suspended Dreams’ and ‘War GenerationBeirut’. This work explores the themes of loss, generational divide and women in war that are found in several of his earlier films. This time, Chamoun (with Masri serving as producer) turns the camera on female exinmates of the notorious Khiam prison, run by Israel in southern Lebanon until 2000. Through the experiences of Kifah Afifi, the viewer is invited to reflect on an earlier generation of Palestinian women prisoners including poet Fadwa Tukan and activist Samiha Khalil. The film includes harrowing accounts of life in the brutal prison as well as inspirational personal testament to the power of survival and hope against oppression and dehumanisation.

Women in Sink

Iris Zaki, documentary UK/Israel, 2015, 37 min.

At “Fifi’s”, a hair salon owned by a Christian Arab in Haifa, Israel, the director installs a camera over the washing-basin, where she chats with the clients she is shampooing. She thus paints an unexpected choral portrait of this space that provides temporary freedom, where Arab and Jewish women share their differences and a community of views on politics, history and love.


Women in struggle

Buthina Canaan Khoury 2004 docu 56 min.

“Women in Struggle” presents rare testimony from four female Palestinian exprisoners who disclose their experiences during their years of imprisonment in Israeli jails and the effect it has had on their present and future lives. Once content to live their lives as sisters, wives and mothers, each of the women became active members in the national fight for Palestinian independence, though their ‘crimes’ differed markedly: one woman was detained in a peaceful protest while another was arrested for her participation in a bombing. Their painful recollections provide a fascinating personal perspective on their motives for political involvement, reveal their struggles in prison and define the difficulties they have faced and continue to face adjusting to life in Palestinian society.

Women in the stadium

Sawas Qaoud 2011 docu 52 min.

Women in the Stadium was originally produced for the Aljazeera documentary channel. It tells the stories of four members of the Palestinian Women’s National Football Team as they navigate the physical and societal obstacles placed in the way of success. While following the trials and tribulations of the team as it works its way to and from a series of local and international matches, Qaoud’s film also shows how several of these young sportswomen have emerged as important role models and a source of inspirations for young women and girls, many of whom have suffered from hardship.

The Women Next Door

Michal Aviad (vrouw) Israel/US, 1992, 80 minutes, Color, 16mm/DVD, Subtitled 
Order No. W99158

THE WOMEN NEXT DOOR is a thoughtful and emotive documentary about women in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israeli director Michal Aviad was living in the United States when the Intifada broke out in the West Bank and Gaza. Filled with questions about how the Occupation affected women on both sides of the conflict she set off in a journey through Israel and the Occupied Territories with two other women — a Palestinian assistant director and an Israeli cinematographer. The film explores the roles that the Occupation designated for women on both sides and the questions it raises. In a world of occupation, what is the meaning of femininity, motherhood, birth, violence, compassion and solidarity between women? Can the womanhood of Israelis and Palestinians be separated from their political reality? The women next door are the women on either side of the border, as well as, those who face the camera and those who stand behind it. THE WOMEN NEXT DOOR provides a unique perspective on women’s lives in the Middle East and the critical part they play in rebuilding societies ravaged by war.

Women's testimonies of the nakba

Raneen Geries 2006 docu 10 min.

This short documentary collects the oral history testimonies of five Palestinian women living inside Israel today. Four of the women are internally displaced refugees, unable to return to their villages and homes despite remaining within the boundaries of what became Israel in 1948 the fifth remains a resident of her original village, Tarshiha in the northern Galilee. The film aims to convey through these testimonies a sense of women’s lives in rural Palestinian communities prior to, during, and after the Nakba, and by doing so to contribute to a fuller understanding of the different and vital roles played by Palestinian women during this period. The documentation forms part of a wider series of oral history projects undertaken by the Zochrot organisation in Israel.

A world not ours

Fleifel, Mahdi, documentary Lebanon 2012 5 min.

This documentary based on Ghassan Kanafani’s novel is an accomplished study of a community dreaming of a lost homeland

A World Not Ours … a family from the Palestinian refugee camp, Ein El-Helweh
A World Not Ours borrows its title from a novel by the author and activist “ Ghassan Kanafani: it is a filmed portrait of the Palestinian refugee camp in South Lebanon known as  Ein El-Helweh, or “sweet spring”. Mahdi Fleifel was born there, and moved away with his family to live in Dubai and Europe – but often returned with his video camera to visit friends and relations and build up this richly personal archive of impressions and interviews. The result is a very watchable study of a stateless community, subsisting on dreams and memories of a lost homeland, and a generation of young men who have no prospects, sometimes drawn to jihadism out of sheer personal frustration; yet they are often quite as critical of the Palestinian leadership as everything else. With his use of music and voiceover, cinephile Fleifel is clearly influenced by Woody Allen and  Martin Scorsese and his style is humorous and compassionate, but my enjoyment of this film was qualified by some pointed political glibness. On a trip to Israel, Fleifel sees some Holocaust memorials and simply superimposes video footage of Israeli soldiers assaulting Palestinians. That casual assertion of mere equivalence strikes a jarring note.
It is a very accomplished piece of film-making nonetheless.


Write Down, I am an Arab

Ibtisam Mara’ana Menuhin. Docu Israel/Palestine. 2014 Eng. ondertiteld. 73 min.

Biographic documentary film about the national Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. The movie covers Mahmoud Darwish’s love letters to his Jewish girlfriend from past, Tamar Ben-Ami, his marriage with Rana Kabbani, his first wife and his part in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The movie contains interviews with Ahmad Darwish (Mahmoud’s brother) and with his fellow poets and writers as well as with Samih al-Qasim, who was Mahmoud Darwish friend.

Film about the national Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. The movie covers Mahmoud Darwish’s love letters to his Jewish girlfriend from past, Tamar Ben-Ami, his marriage with Rana Kabbani, his first wife and his part in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The movie contains interviews with Ahmad Darwish (Mahmoud’s brother) and with his fellow poets and writers as well as with Samih al-Qasim, who was Mahmoud Darwish friend.

The love letters between Mahmoud Darwish and ‘Rita’ intrigued Israeli-Arab filmmaker Ibtisam Mara’ana Menuhin for her own, very personal reasons. When she decided to make a film about the Palestinian national poet it wasn’t because she had developed a new love for his poetry – it was because he had been in love with a Jew. A personal and social portrait of the poet and national myth, Mahmoud Darwish. Through his poetry, secret love letters, and exclusive archival materials, we unearth the story behind the man who became the mouthpiece of the Palestinian people. “Write Down, I am an arab” is the seventh film of the awards winning director Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin.

Over Mahmud Darwish. Steekwoorden: Israel ‘1948; poëzie; verbanning;  liefde.

Writers on the borders

Samir AbdullahJosé Reynes 2004 docu 80 min.

A delegation of internationally renowned writers and intellectuals travel to Palestine in part as representatives of the International Parliament of Writers, in part to participate in a cultural event in honour of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, but also to see first hand life under Israeli military occupation. The delegation includes Russell Banks (U.S., author of The Sweet Hereafter and Affliction), Bei Dao (exiled Chinese poet), José Saramago (Portuguese, Nobel Prize for Literature winner), and Wole Soyinka (Nigerian Nobel Prize for Literature winner).

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