14. Films of Interest


Budrus: Image of the cover of the film


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• American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein.  
Dirs. David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier. 2009. (“American Radical is a nuanced and powerful portrait of the scholar Norman Finkelstein, one of the nation’s most courageous and embattled intellectuals. It is a reminder that mendacity and timidity, when in the service of conventional beliefs, are more highly prized in most universities than truth. It illustrates that those who unmask the lies of the intellectual elite swiftly become their victims. The power and subtext of this film, however, is not in the wars fought between Finkelstein and those like Alan Dershowitz who seek to destroy him, but in Finkelstein’s powerful fealty to his mother’s suffering in the Warsaw Ghetto and later the Nazi death camps. Finkelstein sees in all who are oppressed his mother’s degradation and pain. This is a movie that is, at its core, about the unshakable bond of love between a parent and a true and faithful son who refuses to forget or compromise.” – Chris Hedges)


• Amreeka.
Dir. Cherien Dabis. 2009. (English. “Amreeka chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the Palestinian West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. In America, as her son navigates high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up falafel burgers as well as hamburgers at the local White Castle.” – ArabFilm.com  / “Amreeka should be seen by every American.” – Detroit News)


• Arna’s Children. 
Dirs. Juliano Mer Khamis and Danniel Danniel. English, Arabic and Hebrew, with English subtitles. 2003. www.arna.info (“Arna Mer Khamis was a legendary Israeli anti-occupation activist. Born into an Israeli Jewish family, she married a Palestinian Arab. Arna founded a children’s theatre group in the Jenin refugee camp. Five years after Arna’s death from cancer in 1995, her son returned to the camp to discover what had happened to ‘Arna’s Children’—to find they had become militants and martyrs. His film footage, including interviews and scenes of life in a Palestinian refugee camp became this searing, critically acclaimed documentary, which examines the causes and consequences of militancy and terrorism.” – The Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine [The Committee]; 
the film can be viewed online: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9004838847737803917)


• Bethlehem Diary.
Dir. Antonia Caccia. 2001.
www.icarusfilms.com  (“This film by Antonia Caccia focuses on two Palestinian families and a human rights lawyer around Christmas of 2000. The town of Bethlehem has been closed off by the Israeli army. Violence and economic uncertainty affect the lives of the people whose everyday lives we witness in this film. The film was featured in the 2002 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.” – Friends of Sabeel North America: FOSNA)


• Bil'in Habibti.
Dir. Shai Carmeli-Pollak. 
English, Arabic and Hebrew, with English subtitles. Eighty minutes. 2006. ("The Palestinian village of Bil'in is about to lose over a half of its territory to Israel. The residents of the village decide to embark on a struggle against the construction of the barrier. The film exposes the extraordinary relationship formed between the villagers and Shai, the director, who arrives with a group of Israeli peace activists and the conflict that arises between him, as a former soldier and the entire military organization." - Shai Carmeli-Pollak; a trailer for the film can be viewed online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Jxz6xh-VIw )


• Breaking the Silence: Israeli Soldiers talk about Hebron.
2005.
wwwbreakingthesilence.org.il. (“A short film – 38 min – documenting the testimonies by Israeli soldiers of their experiences in the Israeli Defense Force.” – The Committee; recent video testimonies from former soldiers can be viewed online: http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/testimonies/videos )


• Budrus Has a Hammer.
Dir Julia Bacha. 2009. (“Budrus [is] a documentary by Julia Bacha that examines one West Bank town’s reaction to Israel’s construction of the security barrier. The town, with a population of 1,500, was set to be divided and encircled by the barrier, losing 300 acres of land and 3,000 olive trees. These trees were not only critical for economic survival but also sacred to the town’s intergenerational history. The film tells the story of Ayed Morrar, a Palestinian whose work for Fatah had led to five detentions in Israeli jails, but whose momentous strategic decision that the barrier would be best opposed by nonviolent resistance had far-reaching ramifications.” – Jordana Horn, The Jewish Daily Forward) 


• Checkpoint: A Video Documentary. 
Dir. Yoav Shamir. 2010.
http://www.countercurrents.org/shamir280810.htm / http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/checkpoint/ (“Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir once served his army reserve duty as a checkpoint guard, which was what inspired him to make this documentary, Checkpoint. For 80 minutes, Shamir simply shows us videotape of what happens at the various checkpoints that the Israeli government operates, which are in place to regulate the travel of Palestinians, purportedly in an effort to combat terrorism.” – Countercurrents / “This movie is riveting. I can only call the treatment of the Palestinians trying to get through the checkpoint humiliating (and shocking). The women are harassed and the men are abused. The border guards fair no better in a system that places these young men in situations beyond their training or capacity for judgement. It is a real-time tragedy unfolding on the screen, full of hapless players, endless conflict, and implied ripples for generations. When the old Palestinian heads for the border line saying ‘Shoot me’ you wonder how far it will go. If you love freedom, this movie is painful.” – Top Documentary Films; the film can be viewed online: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/checkpoint/ )


• Children of Shatila.
Dir. Mai Masri. 1998. (“The children of the Shatila refugee camp attempt to come to terms with the exile of their grandparents in 1948. The film focuses on the lives of two Palestinian children, Farah, age 11, and Issa, age 12. They are given video cameras to show their daily lives. Through their personal stories, hopes, and emotions we learn about the Shatila camp.” – JewishFilm.com; the film can be viewed online:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK1PyvIgj9w )

• Chronicles of a Refugee: The Nakba Dailies/The Daily Nakbas; Homeland Without Identity/Identity Without a Homeland; The Talk of Return/The Return of Talk.
Dirs. Perla Issa, Asseel Mansour and Adam Shapiro. Arabic and English, with English subtitles. 2008. (“A 6-part documentary film series which looks at the Palestinian refugee experience, viewed globally, over the last 60 some years. Filmed in 17 countries, 18 refugee camps, and 36 cities with more than 380 interviews.” – The Committee; the film can be viewed online:
http://chroniclesofarefugee.com/ )

• Collecting Stories from Exile: Chicago Palestinians Remember 1948.
Dir. Jennifer Bing-Canar. 1999. (English. 28 minutes. “With introductory and concluding statements by Edward Said, this careful study in oral history is far more than a handful of reminiscences. This video documents the collective nature of the stories from 1948 Palestinian survivors. It describes their daily life before the war, their flight from the conflict and their lives in exile. Collecting Stories From Exile seamlessly weaves together interviews from the 1948 survivors with scenes demonstrating the process of oral history.” – ArabFilm.com; the film can be viewed online:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1767852004962538543 )


• Coverup: The Attack on the USS Liberty. 
A&E History Channel, CBS News Productions. 2000. (“On June 8, 1967, the intelligence ship U.S.S. Liberty, stationed off the Sinai Peninsula during the Six-Day War, was attacked by unmarked jets and later by unmarked torpedo boats. In all, 34 men were killed and 171 wounded. Deep into the attack, the captain and crew realized that the aggressor was their ally, Israel, who claimed they couldn’t identify the ship as American. We examine crew members’ contentions that the attack was intentional and that both governments covered up the true details.” – History Channel)

• Degrees of Incarceration. 
Dir. Amahi Bishara. 2009
. http://www.degreesofincarceration.com/index.html  (“Degrees of Incarceration explores the effects of political imprisonment on the Palestinian community of Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. Through observational footage and interviews filmed over the course of six years, the documentary traces how a group of youth are imprisoned for protesting against the building of the separation wall around their refugee camp and addresses how imprisonment changes their lives after their release. Scenes of the everyday ways families cope reveal the emotional intensity of this situation.” – FOSNA)


• Detaining Dreams.
Dir. Amr Kawji. 2015
. (English, 21 minutes. "Detaining Dreams features the stories of four Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system. From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and torture at the hands of Israeli forces. Three out of four experience physical violence during arrest or interrogation….[The documentary] is a project of Defense for Children International - Palestine and American Friends Service Committee." – No Way to Treat a Child; the documentary can be viewed online:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rw69pLILqw)


• Dispatches: The Killing Zone. 
Dirs. Sandra Jordan and Rodrigo Vasquez. 2003. (“Documentary by two British journalists who travel to the Gaza Strip and immediately experience Israeli gunfire and teargas as they cover a memorial service for Rachel Corrie. Staying five weeks, they document the Corrie killing, the fatal shooting of Tom Hurndall and that of British cameraman James Miller, as well as the deaths and injuries of scores of Palestinians.” – Madison Rafah Sister City Project: MRSCP; the film can be viewed online:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5863204188744026936 )


• Divine Intervention.
Dir. Elia Suleiman. 2002. [Official trailer] (Jury Prize and FIPRESCI Prize, 2002 Cannes Film Festival; Special Jury Prize at the Chicago International Film Festival / "Director Elia Suleiman uses a mixture of romantic comedy and quirky humor to shed light on the problems of Palestinians in Yadon Ilaheyya (Divine Intervention). E.S. (Suleiman and his girlfriend Manal Khader), because they live in separate cities, must meet near an Israeli checkpoint." - Perry Sibert, Rovi / Also see Benjamin Doherty and Ali Abunimah, "Oscars’ double standard turns Palestinian film into refugee," Electronic Intifada, December 10, 2002.)


USA vs. Al-Arian: Image of the cover of the film


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• Edward Said: The Last Interview. 
Dir. Mike Dibb. 2004. (“a riveting record of Mr. Said’s 2002 conversation with the journalist Charles Glass. Engrossing and wide-ranging, the film proves that a couch, a camera and a great mind can be all the inspiration a filmmaker needs. – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times; the film can be viewed on line:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmX2aJtlu68 )

• Encounter Point.
Dirs. Ronit Avni and Julia Bacha. 2006. (“In this fascinating documentary, directors Ronit Avni and Julia Bacha ask what kind of person counters malicious violence with activist conciliation, but offer neither pat answers nor false redemption. Instead they observe the forum’s [Bereaved Families Forum] members, who crisscross the region promoting peace as best they can given the ubiquitous checkpoints, roadblocks, and the reactive vengefulness of their countrymen on both sides. . . . Encounter Point is not a sentimental film: Its most piercing moments are about the uphill internal and external struggles of these good people, bound together more by forgiveness than by love. Just how badly these voices of reason are needed grows crystal clear when Roni, the South African–born, leftist mother of a soldier killed by a Palestinian sniper, visits a Jewish settlement and, angered by the more rabid speakers at a meeting, compares their separatism to apartheid. You don’t have to agree with her to be horrified when a settler sitting next to her asks incredulously, ‘What’s wrong with that?’” – LA Weekly)


• Broken Cameras.
Dirs. Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi. Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles. 2012. (90 minutes. [Documentary] "Five broken cameras—and each one has a powerful tale to tell. Embedded in the bullet-ridden remains of digital technology is the story of Emad Burnat, a farmer from the Palestinian village of Bil’in, which famously chose nonviolent resistance when the Israeli army encroached upon its land to make room for Jewish colonists. Emad buys his first camera in 2005 to document the birth of his fourth son, Gibreel. Over the course of the film, he becomes the peaceful archivist of an escalating struggle as olive trees are bulldozed, lives are lost, and a wall is built to segregate burgeoning Israeli settlements. 
Gibreel’s loss of innocence and the destruction of each camera are potent metaphors in a deeply personal documentary that vividly portrays a conflict many of us think we know. Emad Burnat, a Palestinian, joins forces with Guy Davidi, an Israeli, and—from the wreckage of five broken cameras—two filmmakers create one extraordinary work of art." – David Courier, Sundance Film Festival)


• 500 Dunams on the Moon.
Dir. Rachel Leah Jones. 2002. (“Documents the 1948 depopulation of the Palestinian village of Ayn Hawd. The village was transformed into a Jewish artists’ colony in 1953 and renamed Ein Hod. This documentary tells the story of the village’s original inhabitants, who, after expulsion, settled only 1.5 kilometers away in the outlying hills. This new Ayn Hawd is not on official maps, is not recognized by Israeli law, and its inhabitants do not receive basic services such as water, electricity, or an access road.” – Mideast Just Peace: MJP)


• Flying Paper: A Documentary Film.
Dirs. Roger Hill, Nitin Sawhney. 2013. [Film trailers] ("Flying Paper tells the uplifting story of resilient Palestinian youth in the Gaza Strip on a quest to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown." – Sawney and Hill)


• Frontiers of Dreams and Fears. 
Dir. Mai Masri. 2001. (56 minutes. Official Selection, 2002 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. “This heartfelt documentary from award-winning filmmaker Mai Masri explores the enduring friendship that evolves between two Palestinian girls—Mona, who was born and raised in the economically marginalized Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, and Manar, who lives in the Dheisha refugee camp under Israeli control. The two girls begin their friendship as penpals, sharing the similarities and differences of life in the two refugee camps. Mona and Manar are finally able to meet face-to-face at the Lebanese-Israeli border during Israel’s withdrawal from South Lebanon. But when the second intifada suddenly erupts around them shortly thereafter, both girls must face heart-breaking changes in their lives. As in Masri’s earlier films, Children of Shatila (1998) and Children of Fire (1990), Frontiers of Dreams and Fears focuses on the difficult plight of Palestinian children while exhibiting an optimism that defies their unbearable circumstances.” – ArabFilm.com)


• Gaza Ghetto: Portrait of a Palestinian Family. 
Dirs. Joan Mandell, PeA Holmquist, Pierre Bjorklund. 1984. (“In the first documentary film made in Gaza, Gaza Ghetto . . . highlights the historical precedents that caused the intifada and continue at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Gaza Ghetto shows the impact of decades of war on the family life of Abu el-Adel. . . . Spend 82 minutes with Abu el-Adel and his grandchildren and you will understand how the roots of the Palestine-Israel conflict influence today’s harsh realities and dreams of peace, justice and stability.” – New Day Films / “Gaza Ghetto is one of the most stimulating pieces of film journalism that I have ever seen. These are the images that we need to see to make sense of the problem, to humanize it, to understand it, and to come to terms with it.” – Robert Lange, Professor, Brandeis University)


• Gaza Strip.
Dir. James Longley. 2002. (“In January 2001, Longley took his camera to the embattled Gaza Strip to collect materials for what he planned on being a film about the Palestinian Intifada. . . . Longley wound up staying three months. From the over 75 hours of video shot, Longley has constructed a remarkably coherent, horrifically vivid snapshot of those turbulent days, a snapshot centered mostly on a 13-year-old newspaper boy from Gaza City named Mohammed Hejazi. In a futile attempt to ‘defend’ their homeland, Mohammed and his friends gather at a spot called the Karni Crossing, an intersection between Israel and the Israeli settlement of Netzarim. The kids throw stones at the soldiers; the soldiers fire back with bullets, often with deadly accuracy. Throughout, Longley’s camera never blinks: A visit to a Gaza hospital finds scores of children seriously wounded by Israeli tanks and booby traps; Palestinians attempting to circumvent a crippling 3-day Israeli blockade around Gaza City are seen struggling to cross the sandy beach; the bewildering destruction of Palestinian homes in the city of Kahn Yunis by Israeli bulldozers is committed to tape. The film offers no historical context nor any response from the Israeli side of the conflict. What it does provide is a glimpse into what living in an occupied territory under the threat of such violence does to its people . . .” – Ken Fox, TVGuide.com; the film can be viewed online:
http://vimeo.com/23503221 )


• The Great Book Robbery.
Dir. Benny Brunner. Prod. Benny Brunner and Arjan El Fassed. 2012. (“The Great Book Robbery tells the story of the systematic looting in 1948 of tens of thousands of Palestinian books in a joint operation by the Haganah – what became the Israeli army – and the Israeli national library. The film,
a 48-minute version of which … is available free to watch on YouTube, is the culmination of a joint project by filmmaker Benny Brunner and Arjan El Fassed, who is a co-founder of The Electronic Intifada.” – Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada. Information about the documentary and its subject is available at http://thegreatbookrobbery.org/)


• Home Front.
Prod. Just Vision [Budrus]. 2011. ("[A] series of four video portraits chronicling the resolve of a neighborhood [Sheikh Jarrah] and the support it receives from the most unexpected places. . . . A Palestinian teenager whose family is forced to give up part of their home and live under the same roof as a family of settlers. He comes of age in the face of unrelenting tension with his neighbors and unexpected cooperation with Israeli allies in his backyard. / An American-born Israeli mother who to her own surprise becomes involved in the demonstrations after her children are arrested for protesting. / A Palestinian community organizer from Sheikh Jarrah who spearheads the involvement of local women in the movement while facing the risk of losing her own home to the settlers. / A former Israeli soldier from a religious background who only several years after his combat service in the West Bank finds himself taking on a leading role in the protests." – Just Vision. "If you have ever wondered what drives Israelis and Palestinians to jointly demonstrate against Israel's occupation this film is a great place to gain important insight." – Joseph Dana. The film can be viewed online: http://www.justvision.org/homefront)


• In the Line of Fire.
Prod. Patricia Naylor. PBS, Frontline Documentary. 2003. (“While working as a journalist in Israel, Patricia Naylor, a Canadian TV producer, met a number of Palestinian video cameramen and still photographers who cover the frequent clashes in Hebron. These journalists work for Western media companies. Cameramen Mazen Dana and Nael Shyouki of the British news agency, Reuters, and their colleagues are accustomed to the risks of photographing street protests and riots But displaying their wounds, they all told Naylor they had become targets of Israeli soldiers firing rubber bullets and even live ammunition. . . .The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York warns of ‘a growing animosity in Israel toward the media.’” – PBS)


• The Invisible Policeman.
Dir. Laith Al-Juneidi. Documentary. Arabic with English subtitles. 2011. (59 minutes. "The divisions and conflicts of the West Bank city Hebron are reflected in the sharp rift between the public and private life of Abu Sa’eed, a lieutenant in the Palestinian National Authority Police Department. In uniform, he’s an authority figure and protector; out of uniform, he’s just another disempowered Palestinian man helpless to protect his large family from daily indignities and abuses. This compassionate portrait looks for hope amid the harsh realities of a caring father’s predicament." – Gene Siskel Film Center)

• The Iron Wall. 
Dir. Mohammed Alatar. Prod. Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees and Palestinians for Peace and Democracy. English, Arabic, and Hebrew, with English subtitles. 2006.
www.TheIronWall.psby (“A documentary film that exposes the impact of the barrier on the Palestinian people.” – The Committee; the film can be viewed on line: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8598031591119784930 )

• Israel’s Secret Weapon.
BBC Documentary. 2003.  (“The United States and Britain are preparing to wage war on Iraq, for its undisclosed weapons of mass destruction. Israel’s nuclear, biological and chemical capabilities have remained un-inspected. Meanwhile Mordechai Vanunu has been imprisoned for 16 years for exposing Israel’s secret nuclear bomb factory to the world. Vanunu is seen as a traitor in his own country. . . . This film is the story of the bomb, Vanunu and Israel’s wall of silence.” – BBC; the film can be viewed  on line: 
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=178254070504611595# )


• It's Better to Jump.
Dir. Gina Angelone, Mouna Stewart. Prod. Patrick Stewart. Documentary. 2013. ("It's Better to Jump" is about the ancient walled city of Akka in northern Israel, inhabited by Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Baha'i. But its history goes all the way back to rule of the Egyptian Pharaohs. As Akka undergoes harsh economic pressures and vast social change, the present-day situation is causing Arab families to leave the places where they have grown roots for dozens of generations and shaped a rich culture for over a thousand years. This film focuses on the aspirations and concerns of the Palestinian inhabitants who call the Old City home."  – Official Site)

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                 

Man from Plains: Image of the cover of the film


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• Jaffa, The Orange’s Clockwork.
Dir. Eyal Sivan, 2009. (“Jaffa, The Orange’s Clockwork narrates the visual history of the famous citrus fruit originated from Palestine and known worldwide for centuries as “Jaffa oranges”. The history of the orange is the history of this land. Through photography and cinema, poetry, paintings, workers of the citruses’ industry and historians, memory and present mythologies, Palestinians and Israelis cross and combine. The close reading of the Jaffa brand’s visual representation is a reflection on western orientalist phantasms surrounding the ‘holy land’ and the ‘State of Israel’ and a tool to reveal the untold story of what was once a commune industry and symbol to Arabs and Jews in Palestine. – Chicago Palestine Film Festival. The film exists in two versions: 86 minutes and 53 minutes; the 53 minute version can be viewed online:
 http://www.linktv.org/programs/jaffa-the-oranges-clockwork )

• Jenin, Jenin. 
Dir. Mohammed Bakri, Arabic with English subtitles. 2002. http://www.arabfilm.com/item/242/  (“The film, directed and co-produced by Palestinian actor and director Mohammed Bakri, includes testimony from Jenin residents after the Israeli army’s April 2002 attack on the refugee camp. The operation ended with Jenin flattened and scores of Palestinians dead. Banned in Israel, Jenin Jenin is dedicated to Iyad Samudi, the co-producer of the film. On June 23 he was shot and killed by Israeli forces in besieged Yamun.” – FOSNA; the film can be viewed online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJmUryVKQrU )


• Jerusalem: The East Side Story.
Dir. Mohammed Alatar. 2008. www eastsidestory.ps (“A documentary film that leads a journey exposing Israel’s policy to gain supremacy and hegemony over the city and its Palestinian inhabitants. The film also touches on the future of the city and the cornerstone role that Jerusalem plays in creating in a lasting peace.” – The Committee)


• Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone?
Dir. Marty Rosenbluth.1995. (“[A] tribute to the thousands of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem without access to life’s most basic amenities. Filmmaker Marty Rosenbluth details the devastating effects of Israel’s urban planning policies that, according to many, aim to uproot the Palestinian presence in the Holy City.” – Amazon film description; the film can be viewed in segments  online: #1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bHUo2ioPsw / #2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b0RDXnM73U&feature=relmfu / #3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1bnDlyOl8Y&feature=relmfu / #4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrSNzuDLbEU&feature=relmfu )

• Jimmy Carter Man from Plains.
Dir. Jonathan Demme. 2007. (“Former President Jimmy Carter embarks on a book tour of his non-fiction book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” and speaks at various books signings about how peace can be achieved in the Middle East.” – Rotten Tomatoes / “It’s impossible to see this film without being inspired and deeply moved by Jimmy Carter, both as an individual and a human being. It’s also impossible to see the film without being profoundly depressed by the US media, who are only interested in soundbites and controversy, rather than confronting the much more complex issue at hand. Surprisingly, it’s the smaller moments of the film that are the most moving, such as the people who line up to offer their profound thanks at his book-signings – these include Palestinians, people who’ve been moved by his charity work and even one of the hostages from the Iran Hostage Crisis.” 
– Matthew Turner, ViewLondon)


• The Kingdom of Women.
Dir. Dahna Abourahme. 2010. (54 minutes. "The story of how women revived their community and families following the imprisonment of their men and the 1982 burning of the Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon is told through striking black-and-white animation and interviews that highlight the expressive faces of Palestinian women of all ages. Director Abourahme follows through on the superhero analogy suggested by her animation, underlining the everyday heroism of the women who rebuilt the camp and created new opportunities to bring their influence to bear. In Arabic with English subtitles. – Gene Siskel Film Center)


• The Lemon Tree.
Dir. Eran Riklis. 2008. (“Something like a cross between a torn-from-the-headlines docudrama, a Middle East conflict rendered in miniature and Chekhov’s ‘The Cherry Orchard,’ this latest film from the terrific Israeli director Eran Riklis revolves around the amazing lead performance of Palestinian-French actress Hiam Abbass.” – Salon / “Lemon Tree, directed by the Israeli filmmaker 
Eran Riklis, whose 2004 movie, The Syrian Bride explored Israeli-Arab border tensions, is also a wrenching, richly layered feminist allegory as well as a geopolitical one.” – New York Times)


• Life in Occupied Palestine – Eyewitness Stories and Photos.
Dir. Anna Baltzer. 2008.
www.AnnaInTheMiddleEast.com (“Anna Baltzer, a Jewish-American Columbia graduate and Fulbright scholar, presents her discoveries as a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service in the West Bank, documenting human rights abuses and supporting Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to the Occupation. . . . Topics discussed include checkpoints, settlements, Israeli activism, Zionism, 1948 War & refugees, censorship, the Wall, the ongoing annexation of Palestinian land, and the almost unbearable living conditions under the occupation. The grand-daughter of Holocaust refugees, Baltzer works to address the injustices of today in light of those of the past. She is the author of the book Witness in Palestine.” – Amazon film description; the film can be viewed online: http://vimeo.com/6977999 )


• Life Under Occupation – Testimonies from an Occupied Land.
Dir. Frank Barat. 2008. (28 minutes. [Documentary] “A documentary about life in Palestine and more especially in Nablus, the biggest city of the West Bank. Surrounded by checkpoints, Nablus has seen during recent years its unemployment skyrocket and more and more people living under the poverty line. The picture in the refugee camps is even bleaker. This is the story of Palestinians and Internationals trying to reach out to the world to end Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinians.” – MRSCP; the film can be viewed online:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU8F2T8xMVo )


• Little Town of Bethlehem.
Dir. Jim Hanon. Arabic with English subtitles. 2010. (75 minutes. [Documentary] "Three men, a Christian, a Muslim, and a Jew, dedicate their lives to building peace between Palestine and Israel, inspired by the philosophies of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. Both scarred and shaped by the conflict, they come to their mission from diverse backgrounds: Al-Azzeh’s family was driven from their home in 1948, and live in camps to this day; Awad’s grandfather was killed by a sniper; and Shapira’s career in the Israeli army ended in disgrace when he refused to endanger civilians. 
– Gene Siskel Film Center)


Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone


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• My Land.
Dir. Tone Anderson. 2005. (24 minutes. [Documentary] “In the northern Galilee, Ali and Therese are not allowed to build a house on their own land. They take up the fight with the surrounding community of Misgav, whilst living in a house under a constant threat of demolition. . . . My Land tells one of the stories from within Israel that rarely reach the attention of the mainstream media. While there are aggressive government sponsored campaigns and financial incentives used to persuade Jewish Israelis to settle in the Galilee, residents of pre existing Arab towns struggle to get planning permission in their own lands. My Land exposes the plight of that 20% of the Israeli population who are Palestinian Arabs. Being Israeli by citizenship, Palestinian by nationality and Arab by ethnicity, they are seen as suspect in some Arab countries and yet are treated as an internal enemy by the state of Israel.” – Palestine Film Foundation)


• My So-Called Enemy.
Dir. Lisa Gossels. 2010. (89 minutes. [Documentary] "In July 2002, 22 Palestinian, Israeli and Palestinian Israeli teenage girls traveled to the United States to participate in a women’s leadership program called
Building Bridges for Peace. “My So-Called Enemy” is the story of six of the girls and how their transformative experience in the program, of knowing their “enemies” as human beings, meets with the realities of their lives at home in the Middle East over the next seven years." – Good Egg Productions)


• Nakba: Palestine 1948.
Dir. Ryuichi Hirokawa, 2008. (131 minutes. [Documentary; Arabic, Hebrew, English with subtitles]
"In 1967 the director visited a kibbutz and discovered the ruins of a Palestinian village. This began 40 years of research on the hundreds of villages destroyed by Israel, which he documented with film footage, photographs, and testimonies by survivors. “This incredible film, masterfully assembled from hundreds of hours of documentation traces this personal, political, national, and visual history, bringing the past and the present together in an original and compelling way.” He also created an 30-disk archive documenting the massacres and destruction of villages in 1948 and subsequent Palestinian history. He was among the first journalists to document the massacres at Sabra and Shatila and in Gaza after the 2008-2009 attack." – Marvin Wingfield, "Palestine in Film")


• Nine Days in Palestine/Israel: A Study Tour with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. 
Dir. Frank Barat. 2008. (36 minutes. [Documentary] "A nine days study tour of Palestine/Israel with the Israeli Committee Against House demolitions during November, 2007." –  Frank Barat; the film can be viewed online: http://www.veoh.com/watch/v6958547BJHx2ry6?h1 )


 1913: Seeds of Conflict.
Dir. Ben Loeterman. 2014. (54 minutes. [Documentary] "1913: Seeds of Conflict looks at the moment of transformation when Ottoman rule in Palestine was still strong, the identities of Jerusalemites were fluid and few could imagine the conflict that would dominate the region for the next century. Until now, the public and scholars have focused on the British Mandate as the matchstick of the Middle East conflict. Breaking new ground, this film focuses on the moment just before World War I, when Arab and Jewish nationalism first made contact, and the seeds of conflict were first sewn." –  PBS; the film can be viewed online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUUAVt8enVE )

 

 Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority.
Dirs. Sufyan Omeish and Abdallah Omeish. 2006.
www.occupation101.com (“A documentary film on the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and US government involvement. Featuring historical footage and commentaries from leading scholars, activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers.” – The Committee; the film can be viewed online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_jvXnPG9X )


 Omar.
Dir. Hany Abu-Assad. 2013. (Oscar nominated, 2014 / Official Trailer / "Omar (Adam Bakri) is a Palestinian baker who routinely climbs over the separation wall to meet up with his girl Nadja (Leem Lubany). By night, he's either a freedom fighter or a terrorist -- you decide -- ready to risk his life to strike at the Israeli military with his childhood friends Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat). Arrested after the killing of an Israeli soldier and tricked into an admission of guilt by association, he agrees to work as an informant. So begins a dangerous game-is he playing his Israeli handler (Waleed F. Zuaiter) or will he really betray his cause? And who can he trust on either side?" – Adopt Films)


 On the Side of the Road.
Dir. Lia Tarachansky. 2013. [Official Trailer] ("Lia Tarachansky has produced a powerful and moving film about finding the truth about the fate of the Palestinians in the founding of Israel. The stunning revelation that she, like other Israelis, had repressed the realities surrounding the Palestinian community near her childhood home opens a new window on the tortured history of the conflict with the Palestinians. Tarachansky's film, represents a breakthrough in presenting the conflict on multiple levels." – Gareth Porter

• Palestine is Still the Issue.
Dir. John Pilger. 2004. (“Pilger made a classic documentary by the same title in 1977. In this new documentary he returns to the area to ask why the Palestinians remain caught in a terrible limbo, with Israeli military occupation stronger than ever. Pilger says it is time to bring justice, as well as peace, to Palestine. This is one of the best documentary explorations of the Palestinian experience.” – MRSCP; 
the film can be viewed online:  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=746557429802139093 )


• Paradise Now.
Dir. Hany Abu-Assad. Arabic, with optional English, Spanish, or French subtitles. 2005. ( Winner, 2006, Best Foreign Language Film – Golden Globe. “The year’s most insightful and unvarnished look at the motivations of terrorism.” – Newsday)


• Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land.
Dirs. Bathsheba Ratzkoff and Sut Jhally. 2004. (“Less a primer on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than on the machinations of corporate media, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land delivers a cogent takedown of American TV news. . . . The schematic PowerPoint structure highlights seven ‘PR Strategies’ used by pro-occupation groups to dominate American news coverage of the region No new ground is broken, but examples of media outrages abound: Fisk recalls a CNN memo instructing reporters to refer to settlements in the Occupied Territories as ‘neighborhoods’; another segment contrasts the BBC’s unflinching coverage of the deaths of a half-dozen Palestinian children with sanitized American versions of the same incident.” – The Village Voice
; the film can be viewed online:  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2165626245072381061 )


• Permission to Narrate.
Student film [12 minutes] by the students of Birzeit University. 2013. ("The right to education starts with the right to set and study your own narrative"
; the film can be viewed online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xb3O5qOLNv8 )


• Private.
Dir. Saverio Costanzo. English, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. 2004. (“Inspired by real events, documentary filmmaker Saverio Costanzo’s feature debut is a minimalist psychological drama about a Palestinian family of seven suddenly confronted with a volatile situation in their home that in many ways reflects the larger ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel. Winner of a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival, Private is convincingly shot in a documentary style with a hand-held camera and a quick pace. Director Costanzo has created a unique occasion for both Israeli and Palestinian actors to work together, and being an outsider himself, he has worked to maintain a neutral standpoint while dramatizing the conflict.” – ArabFilm.com)


• Promises.
Dirs. BZ Goldberg and Justine Shapiro. Hebrew, Arabic with English subtitles. 2001. (“Nominated for the Academy Award, March 2002. . . .  PROMISES offers a surprisingly fresh window onto the Middle East conflict when filmmaker B.Z. Goldberg returns to his hometown of Jerusalem to see what seven children – both Palestinian and Israeli – think about war, peace and just growing up. Each child provides a dramatic, touching and sometimes hilarious insight into the Middle East conflict and into the experience of growing up in the charged and complex city of Jerusalem. Though they live only 20 minutes apart, these children exist in completely separate worlds; the physical, historical and emotional obstacles between them run deep.” – Jewishfilms.com; the film can be viewed online:
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/promises/  


Arna's Children: Image from the cover of the film


Q-Z

• Salt of This Sea.
Dir. Annemarie Jacir. 2008. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Salt-of-This-Sea-Milh-Hadha-al-Bahr-mlh-hdha-albhr/27276646076  (“Soraya, born in Brooklyn in a working class community of Palestinian refugees, discovers that her grandfather’s savings were frozen in a bank account in Jaffa when he was exiled in 1948. Stubborn, passionate and determined to reclaim what is hers, she fulfills her life-long dream of “returning” to Palestine. Slowly she is taken apart by the reality around her and is forced to confront her own internal anger.” – Zeitgeist Theater)


• Stone Cold Justice.
Dir. ABC Australia, 2014. https://vimeo.com/86575949 (Forty-two minute documentary produced by Australian journalists. "The Israeli army is both respected and feared as a fighting force. But it's facing a backlash, at home and abroad, for its bullying tactics in the West Bank. With incredible access on both sides, this doc reveals how children have become a key part of its strategy and are being both tortured and used as spies. From arresting Palestinian kids as young as five to allowing Settler attacks, from torture to threats of rape and forced confessions, it's a brutal reign of terror that is radicalising a new generation of Palestinians.” – Journeyman Pictures) 


• The Time That Remains.
Dir. Elia Suleiman, 2009. (“Subtitled Chronicle of a Present Absentee, this humorous, heartbreaking film (the final installment in a trilogy that includes Chronicle of a Disappearance and Divine Intervention) is set among the Israeli Arab community and shot largely in homes and places in which Suleiman’s family once lived. Inspired by his father’s diaries, letters his mother sent to family members who had fled the Israeli occupation, and the director’s own recollections, the film spans from 1948 until the present, recounting the saga of Suleiman’s family in elegantly stylized episodes. Inserting himself as a silent observer reminiscent of Buster Keaton, Suleiman trains a keen eye on the absurdities of life in Nazareth.” – Chicago Palestine Film Festival)


• The Ultra Zionists.
Dir. Jamie Pickup, 2011. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DduUcPSU_TM ("The Ultra Zionists is a British documentary [BBC] that was televised on 3 February 2011. Louis Theroux investigates ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus. The documentary also follows Theroux as he tours the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem with Daniel Luria of the Ateret Cohanim Zionist Movement." – Wikipedia. "But what makes the extreme settlers more troubling is that they also enjoy a degree of support from the Israeli state. Surprising as it may seem, many illegal outposts like Yair's are protected by the Israeli army. And in East Jerusalem and Hebron the Jewish presence is fully legal under Israeli law and underwritten and guaranteed by a vast security force.” – Louis Theroux)


• USA vs Al-Arian.
Dir. Line Halvorsen. 2007. (“USA vs Al-Arian is a close portrait of an Arab-American family facing terrorism charges leveled by the U.S. Government. . . .  The film follows Sami, his wife Nahla and their five children through the 6 month long trial and the difficult period after the verdict. It is a personal story of a family, who like many Muslims in the USA today, are fighting against increasing stigmatization and discrimination in a post 911-climate. The film deals with themes of freedom of speech, and the right to a fair trial. It also shows how the media influence public opinion and how the USA`s fear of and fight against terrorism can threaten civil liberties.”  – Kudos Family; the film can be viewed online: 
http://www.usavsalarian.com/ )

• Wall.
Dir. Simone Bitton, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. 2004. (“Wall is a cinematic meditation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which the filmmaker blurs the lines of hatred by asserting her double identity as Jew and Arab. In an original documentary approach, the film follows the separation fence that is destroying one of the most historically significant landscapes in the world, while imprisoning one people and enclosing the other. On the building site of this mad wall, daily utterances and holy chants, in Hebrew and in Arabic, defy the discourses of war, passing through the deafening noise of bulldozers. Wall offers its spectators a last glimpse of the beauty of this land and the humanity of its inhabitants a moment before they disappear behind the wall." – ArabFilm.com)


• The Wanted 18: A True Story of Bovine Resistance.
Dirs. Amer Shomail, Paul Cowan. 2014. ("Through a clever mix of stop motion animation and interviews, The Wanted 18 recreates an astonishing true story: the Israeli army's pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel." In response to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, a group of people from the town of Beit Sahour decide to buy 18 cows and produce their own milk as a co-operative. Their venture is so successful that the collective farm becomes a landmark, and the cows local celebrities—until the Israeli army takes note and declares that the farm is an illegal security threat. Consequently, the dairy is forced to go underground, the cows continuing to produce their "Intifada milk" with the Israeli army in relentless pursuit. Recreating the story of the "wanted 18" from the perspectives of the Beit Sahour activists, Israeli military officials, and the cows, Palestinian artist Amer Shomali and veteran Canadian director Paul Cowan create an enchanting, inspirational tribute to the ingenuity and power of grassroots activism." - Human Rights Watch Film Festival; an 8 minute trailer for the film can be viewed online: https://vimeo.com/26116479 )


• When I Saw You.
Dir. Annemarie Jacir, Arabic with English subtitles, 2012. [Official trailor] (Palestine's 2013 Oscar enrty for Foreign Language Film. "Jordan, 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." 
– http://whenisawyou.com)


• World Not Ours.
Dir. Mahdi Fleifel, 2012. ("A World Not Ours is a passionate, bittersweet account of one family's multi-generational experience living as permanent refugees. Now a Danish resident, director Mahdi Fleifel grew up in the Ain el-Helweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, established in 1948 as a temporary refuge for exiled Palestinians. Today, the camp houses 70,000 people and is the hometown of generations of Palestinians. The filmmaker's childhood memories are surprisingly warm and humorous, a testament to the resilience of the community. Yet his yearly visits reveal the increasing desperation of family and friends who remain trapped in psychological as well as political limbo. Official Selection of the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival." 
– PBS.org)


• Zaytoun.
Dir. Eran Riklis, 2012. ("Why the Palestinian voice was allowed to be suppressed; why the script was changed to such an extent politically; and why the film was allowed to propagate dangerous stereotypes that plague our understanding of other cultures, remains unclear and is incredibly disheartening. 
It certainly appears that none of the goodwill brought to the project was able to withstand the pressures of Israeli censorship, stereotype and misinformation" / "The film making process turned into a microcosm of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict itself. Only Israeli concerns were addressed, Israeli opinions expressed, and Israeli versions of history permitted. Alternate perspectives were simply unacceptable. And no measure of carefully documented alarm made an iota of difference." – Nader Rizq, screen writer of Zaytoun; for Rizq's analysis of the changes to the screenplay for Zaytoun see: "Zaytoun: From Dream to Nightmare")




PalDocs-home-page-10-5-14

PalestineDocs is a website "designed to serve as "a web resource on films chronicling the life of Palestinians in and outside the Middle East." The site’s ever-growing database currently includes more than 100 documentaries, grouped in a dozen or so categories (“Gaza,” “Camps,” “Exile,” etc.); for each listing, there’s a one - or two - paragraph synopsis and links to sites from which the movie can be streamed free, rented, or purchased." / Click here (or on the image above) to go to the website PalestineDocs. For information about the development of the website see New site catalogs documentary films about Palestine.







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MichaelLevin11@mac.com  I  © Michael Levin 2012