Films on Palestine drawing capacity crowds at US policy center

Published June 25th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

A summer film series on Palestine is drawing capacity crowds to the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine (CPAP) in Washington.  

“We are always at capacity -- 130 people -- in the summer,” Jeff Mendez, CPAP programs officer, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). “This year’s free movies are the fourth year the center has offered the series,” Mendez said, adding that the series also is scheduled in spring and winter, but the summer series draws the most people.  

“One reason for that is there are more interns in washington in the summer, he said. for those looking to learn more about the crisis in the Middle East, the films -- all of which are in Arabic with English subtitles -- offer a variety of insights. Each film is shown during the evening. Three films have already been shown this month at the center,” Mendez said.  

The first one, shown on June 12, had ‘history’ as its theme. “Palestine: Story of a Land” is a 1993 movie directed by Simone Bitton. The two-part film uses only newsreel and archival footage to tell the story of Palestine from the late 19th century through current times. Part one covers the 1880-1950 period, and part two explores the 1950-1991 era.  

On June 19, the center showed two films with “Dispossession” as the theme. The first film, “Frontiers of Dreams and Fears,” directed by Mai Masri, has been characterized as a “vivid and troubling testimony to love and hope.” The 2001 movie tells the story of two Palestinian refugee girls, one from the Shatila camp in Beirut and the other from Dheisha camp in Bethlehem. The girls embark on a journey separating them from their childhood and eventually from each other. The second film with “Dispossession” as its theme, also shown last week, is entitled, “On the Borders of Gardens.” Directed by David Rigden, this 2000 movie is about Palestine and Israel. It explores such questions as who is responsible for refugees? Should refugees return to their homelands or be compensated? How? Who will return? When? And where to?  

The center will show two films with the theme of ‘occupation.’ “Palestinian Diaries,” a 1991 Michael Khalifi documentary, is about three young Palestinians living through day-to-day curfews, arrests and executions. “Waiting for Saladin,” a 2001 documentary directed by Tawfik Abu Wael, portrays Palestinian inhabitants of east Jerusalem living under the rule of Israel’s political regime.  

The two July 10 films have the theme ‘Jerusalem: a City Divided, Disputed and Loved.’ “Jerusalem Since Oslo: Competing for the City” is a 1998 film directed by Jerri Bird. It discusses the scramble for control over the city of Jerusalem, as well as the issue of Jewish settlements in Arab east Jerusalem and the problems they pose for a final-status resolution. “Jerusalem’s High Cost of Living,” a 2001 film directed by Hazim Bitar, was made during the second Intifada. Instead of finding his Israeli neighbors mobilizing for peace, Bitar encountered unexpected hostility, which he captured in this movie.  

The two films planned for July 17 have the theme of ‘the Extremists: Jewish Settlers and Islamic Militants.’ “Inside God’s Bunker: the Story of the Hebron Massacre,” is a 1994 film directed by Micha X. Peled, which provides a portrait of extremist Jewish settlers in Hebron and their feelings about Baruch Goldstein and the late Yitzhak Rabin. “We are God’s Soldiers,” a 1993 film directed by Hann Musleh, presents an eyewitness account of the Islamic movement in the Gaza strip.  

The two films planned for July 24 have the theme ‘the Gaza Strip: Separated, But not Forgotten.’ “Gaza under Siege,” a 2001 film directed by Charles Stewart, highlights one family’s struggle to cope. “Gaza Strip,” a 2002 film directed by James Longley, follows a range of characters and events in different cities and towns inside the Gaza strip from February through April 2001.  

The theme of the July 31 film is ‘Coexistence: from Israel’s Creation to the Peace Process.’ “Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land,” a 1989 movie directed by David K. Shipler, is a documentary based on Shipler’s Pulitzer prize-wining book. In the film, Shipler narrates as he interviews young Palestinians, Israelis, relief workers, international representatives and peace activists.  

On August 7, the theme is ‘Coexistence: the Peace Process and Beyond.’ “If You Make It Possible,” a 1996 documentary directed by Lynn Feinerman, offers four in-depth portraits of Palestinians and Israelis who have devoted their lives to achieving peace and non-violence in the Middle East.  

The Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies shares its films with the CPAP to make the series possible,” Mendez said – Albawaba.com  


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