Showing posts with label Palestinian Film. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Palestinian Film. Show all posts

Sunday, March 3, 2013

'Promises' Documentary Available for Free Viewing Online Now

The critically acclaimed documentary Promises (2001) is now available online for free viewing.  Go to or watch below:

Promises presents a powerful portrait of seven Palestinian and Israeli children who live in and around Jerusalem. As filmmaker B.Z. Goldberg, who was raised in Israel, notes, "They live no more than 20 minutes from each other, but they are each growing up in very separate worlds."  The children include Mahmoud, Shlomo, Sanabel, Faraj, Moishe, and twins Yarko and Daniel.

With the exception of the latter, all are religious (the twins are the grandchildren of a Holocaust survivor). Most have strong political beliefs and have seen their share of tragedy – Faraj’s friend was killed in front of him–but as the film makes clear, they’re also kids.

They like to watch TV, hold burping contests, and compete in sports (Faraj is a runner, Yarko and Daniel play volleyball). Promises doesn’t attempt to explain them, but lets the kids speak for themselves. The results are funny, sad, and ultimately quite profound.

If you believe in your heart that, despite every hurdle, peace is possible between the Israelis and Palestinians, this film will fill you with hope and wonder. That’s not to say it’s rosy – the children depicted in the film often exhibit anger and intolerance, but the mere act of recognition between the children of these two warring groups is enough to inspire faith in their futures. This film is a beautiful document of a precious, brave and tenuous experiment on the part of the filmmakers. May we all have the courage to try to guide the next generation into a more peaceful, more understanding world.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Emad Burnat's Oscar Nominated 'Five Broken Cameras' Does Not Win Academy Award

Emad Burnat attended the Oscars on Feb 24, 2013 with his family 

Many people were caught by surprise when Emad Burnat's documentary '5 Broken Cameras' was nominated for Best Documentary at tonight's Oscar Ceremony. Few, however, were surprised that it did not win--taking comfort instead in the fact that the film was nominated at all.

The first-ever Palestinian film to be nominated for best Documentary Feature, the critically-acclaimed 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a deeply personal, first-hand account of life and non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village surrounded by Israeli settlements. Shot by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, Gibreel, the film was co-directed by Burnat and Guy Davidi, an Israeli filmmaker. Structured in chapters around the destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village upheaval. As the years pass in front of the camera, we witness Gibreel grow from a newborn baby into a young boy who observes the world unfolding around him with the astute powers of perception that only children possess. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify and lives are lost in this cinematic diary and unparalleled record of life in the West Bank. 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a Palestinian-Israeli-French co-production. A Kino Lorber Release.

Director Emad Burnat is a Palestinian freelance cameraman and photographer with experience filming for Al-Jazeera and Palestinian Television. He has contributed to several documentaries, including Bil’in My Love, Palestine Kids, Open Close, and Interrupted Streams. 

Emad Burrnat at the Sundance Film Festival

Movie Poster
Here is the trailer for 5 Broken Cameras.  The complete documentary is available to view on YouTube for $3.99 (rental) or can be owned for $9.99.  See

Thursday, January 10, 2013

'5 Broken Cameras' Documentary Tracks Palestinian Farmer's Struggle

"5 Broken Cameras" is a documentary of a Palestinian farmer's observance of the non-violent resistance movement against Israel's military occupation.

PLOT:  When his fourth son, Gibreel, is born, Emad, a Palestinian villager, gets his firstcamera. In his village, Bil'in, a separation barrier is being built and the villagers start to resist. For more than five years, Emad films the struggle, which is lead by two of his best friends, and films in parallel how his son Gibreel grows. Very soon the struggle affects his family and his own life. Daily arrests and night raids scare his family. Emad, his friends and brothers are either shot or arrested. One camera after another is shot out or smashed. Each cameratells a part of his story.

"5 Broken Cameras" was Winner of Best Israeli Documentary Award from Van Leer Group Foundation 2012 and Best Directing Award in World Cinema Documentary 2012.

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Release Date: July 13th, 2012
Genre: Documentary
Directors: Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi
Writer: Guy Davidi
Studio: Kino Lorber

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

'They Came in the Morning'' Wins British Short Film Competition

film copy_copy

The short film ''They came in the morning'' by Palestinian director Laila Sansour, has achieved the highest voting percentage in a short film competition that was organized by ''Virgin Media'' in England. 750 short films participated in it.

The short documentary film (2 min 19 sec) revolves around the city of Bethlehem and was born from some of the footage shot over 5 critical years in the life of Bethlehem during the making of an upcoming feature film titled "Operation Bethlehem".

Here is the short film clip:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Screening of Award-Winning Documentary 'Budrus' on Thursday 5/17 at Stanford

Budrus is an award-winning feature documentary film about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who united his community and Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel's Separation Barrier. The screening of this film will take place at 8 PM on Thursday May 17 at Stanford University in the Haas Center (DK Room). Read more and see the trailer here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Film Review: 'Man Without a Cell Phone' Honors Palestinians in Israel

Film Review: Palestinians in Israel honored in debut comedy feature
Article by Maureen Clare Murphy in The Electronic Intifada
10 May 2012

Razi Shawahdeh and Bassem Loulou in Man Without a Cell Phone

Man without a CellPhoneThe under-recognized steadfastness of Palestinians who clung onto their land in the areas of Palestine upon which the State of Israel was declared is lovingly praised in Sameh Zoabi’s lighthearted debut feature Man Without a Cell Phone.

Man Without a Cell Phone was a selection of the 11th annual Chicago Palestine Film Festival which took place last month, and will be screened this Saturday at the Houston Palestine Film Festival. It is also one of only a few recent feel-good Palestinian films that I can think of (Cherien Dabis’s Amreeka comes to mind).

The main protagonist of Zoabi’s film is Jawdat (Razi Shawahdeh), a young man whose charms with women go further than is good for him. Where Jawdat has had success in finding multiple girlfriends (relationships maintained via cell phone, which eventually go awry) he lacks ambition in all other areas of his life. Repeatedly failing the Hebrew language requirement for a nearby Israeli university, Jawdat is engrossed in his cell phone at the family dinner table and uninterested in helping his father tend to their olive orchard, next to which an enormous cell phone antenna has been installed by the Israeli government.
War on antenna

Jawdat’s father, Salem (Bassem Loulou), declares war on the antenna, believing it to be causing cancer in the town, Iksal, and killing his neighbor’s bees. The escalating struggle against the tower drives the plot of the film, and in doing so, is a vehicle to show Israel’s racist system which is intended to drive Palestinian citizens from their land.

The antenna becomes a character in itself once a security camera is installed on it. The audience sees Jawdat, Salem and their community through Israel’s eyes as objects of monitoring — an existential security threat — as Zoabi comically cuts to black-and-white footage of the camera following the characters’ movements.

Meanwhile, Jawdat’s seemingly perpetual adolescence is linked to the system which “doesn’t want him educated,” as he is told more than once in the film.

Jawdat reclaims his manhood once he joins his father’s resistance against the cell phone tower, joining Salem and other town elders around a table as they draft a petition to have the antenna removed. Jawdat takes their draft petition and invigorates it with nationalist rhetoric, putting it into the context of the wider repression of Palestinians in Israel.

The group canvasses the town (where “no one’s been taught to stand up for their rights,” Salem says) for signatures, and proudly present their petition to their town councilor — only to find that he serves as a Palestinian gatekeeper to the Israeli government. It is an unflattering commentary on the role played by Palestinian citizens who go along with the system at the expense of their community’s rights. But as Salem tells Jawdat later on in the film (I won’t spoil the ending for the reader), “They have won the battle, but we will win the war” — this single line poignantly summarizing the experience of Palestinians in Israel who have been under constant attack since the Zionist state was established in 1948, yet still remain.
Absurdist tradition

Zoabi’s film fits into the absurdist tradition of Palestinian filmmaking — perhaps only absurdism can begin to make sense of the monumental injustice thrust upon the Palestinian people — but does so in its own way. Zoabi’s first feature film may not boast the same mastery as Elia Suleiman’s films, but it is far kinder to the elder generation of Palestinians in Israel than are Suleiman’s earlier works. Man Without a Cell Phone also showcases fine and funny performances from unknown actors, particularly Bassem Loulou as the curmudgeonly father.

It is to Zoabi’s credit that he has found a novel way to tell Palestine’s story of colonization and oppression by Israel that doesn’t pound the viewer on the head, and may likely be equally appreciated by an audience of Palestinians in Haifa as would be by an audience in Chicago.

Zoabi’s sweet story is a welcome addition to the remarkable breadth of Palestinian filmmaking which makes events like the Chicago and Houston Palestine film festivals well worth returning to year after year.

Ramzi Salti's Talk: Healing through Lebanese Music (EPIC Fellows, Stanford Global Studies, September 2020)

Watch full talk at This audio-visual talk by Stanford Lecturer + Arabology program host Dr. Ramzi Salti was pre...