Palestine in Focus: A Freedom Theatre Multimedia Show

Members of the multimedia program at The Freedom Theatre of Jenin discuss the role of creative work as a means of resisting the Israeli occupation, and their work with the Theatre in introducing young Palestinians to a variety of artistic forms, including music, photography, filmmaking, and writing. They view these forms as necessary creative outlets in an environment that is often violent and oppressive.

The Occupation in Miniature

In the art of Bedouin artist, Eid Hadaleen, the instruments of the occupation are reconstructed by the occupied.  The originals of the miniatures are Hadaleen’s everyday fare: bulldozer, helicopter, digger, tractor, truck. These modes of transportation and construction are wielded against the Palestinian people with the intended effect of immobilizing them. Yet, through the use of wood, iron, rubber, plastic, glass, parts of furniture and accessories, Hadaleen performs a miniature imitation that suggests on one hand mockery and on another the power of creative responses to the occupation.

Summer Film Series: “Cinema Palestine” by Tim Schwab

This feature-length documentary explores the concept of Palestinian cinema produced by an effectively stateless people.  Cinema Palestine combines in-depth interviews with directors including Hany Abu-Assad, Azza el-Hassan, Sobhi Zobaidi, Mai Masri, Tawfik Abu Wael, Annemarie Jacir, and many more, along with excerpts from their films.

Summer Film Series: “Recollection” by Kamal Aljafari

Composed entirely of footage from Israeli and American fiction features shot in Jaffa from the 1960s to the 1990s, Aljafari removes the Israeli actors to give the stage to people who appear by chance in the background, including both Palestinians and Iraqi Jews who were settled in the city. In so doing, he performs what he calls “cinematic justice” to the people who were made to appear as extras.

Summer Film Series: “Degrade” by Arab and Tarzan Nasser

Set in a women’s hair salon in Gaza during a confrontation between the police and a local gangster, effectively trapping the women inside, Degrade blends caricature and reality to emphasize the complexity of life in Gaza where people are afflicted by multiple nodes of pressure and the social space of women is increasingly circumscribed by these pressures.

Summer Film Series: “Roshmia” by Salim Abu Jabal

The film follows an elderly couple, Yousef and Amna, in their final stand-off with Israeli authorities to keep their rustic home, a shack in the Roshmia valley in Haifa. A friend encourages them to leave and works to secure municipal compensation for the couple, but tensions grow between Yousef, who refuses to leave his home, and Amna, who seeks to move on.

Summer Film Series: “Io sto con la sposa (On the Bride’s Side)” by Antionio Augugliaro, Gabriele Del Grande, and Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry

On the Bride’s Side records the 2013 journey of five undocumented Syrian and Palestinian refugees who end up in Italy fleeing the war in Syria, and with the help of the filmmakers, continue on from Milan to Stockholm where they seek to attain political asylum. The refugees and their supporters travel as a fake wedding party complete with a bride in a white gown, hoping to avoid detection and arrest.

Essay Film Series: “Trip Along Exodus” by Hind Shoufani

To try and understand his choice to give up a tenured position at a university in the U.S. and join the underground PLO in Beirut, his daughter, the filmmaker, made a documentary that traced her family’s journey through Palestine’s 20th century history.