The art of filmmaking is a vessel for people to express their identity, document their struggles, and share their culture. Cinema has the power to serve as a platform for political and social commentary and document history. In fact, films have played a role in transforming the world, as they give a voice to the voiceless and build empathy towards them. For that reason, many Palestinians have turned to cinema and films to capture the stories of their family, friends, and their struggle through documentaries, and fiction films.
Two Hundred Meters (2020)
Two Hundred Meters is a fiction film that holds a mirror to the daily lives of Palestinians. It tells the story of Mustafa, a father of three who lives on the West Bank Two Hundred meters from his wife and children on the other side of the border wall. Mustafa gets a call that his son was seriously injured and brought to an Israeli hospital. Trying to reach his son, he is denied entrance at the border, so he attempts to smuggle himself across the wall. Two Hundred Meters focuses on how a wall can hinder and affect people’s daily lives, put a strain on relationships, and break up families.
Ambulance provides a raw and first-person account of the attacks in Gaza in the summer of 2014. Mohamed Jabaly, a young man from Gaza, joins an ambulance crew to help the injured. It allows the viewers to experience the war through his eyes, directly from the passenger seat. He encounters dead bodies, traumatized families, and the constant risk of a painful death. Ambulance expresses the trauma and hope of the citizens of Gaza.
Farha is a brutal coming-of-age story that tells the realities of Palestinians in 1948. Farha dreams of attending school in the city with her best friend. When her father agrees to send her, the Israeli military bombs her village. Farha refuses to abandon her father and stays in the village, where she witnesses the horrific actions and effects of the invasion. It tells a historical tragedy through a small storage room that acts as a window into the terrors of war.
The Present (2020)
Directed by Farah Nabulsi, the short film is an Oscar-nominated masterpiece highlighting the suffering of Palestine under the occupation. It tells the story of Yusef, who is a father of one and a loving husband. On his wedding anniversary, he sets out with his daughter to get his wife a gift. Navigating occupation soldiers, segregation, barricades, and checkpoints, they struggle to do the simplest things, like shopping. It sheds light on how Palestinians are deprived of the simplest of freedoms.
Born in Gaza (2014)
Born in Gaza is a feature documentary that provides an up-close and intimate look into the lives of the Palestinian children living in the largest open-air prison, Gaza. Through interviews and observational footage, the documentary spotlights the horrific attacks of the occupation and their consequences on the children. It goes beyond the dehumanization of the news coverage of the events and gives the platform for these children to be heard.
A World Not Ours (2012)
A World Not Ours paints a portrait of a Palestinian in a refugee camp in South Lebanon. Mahdi Fleifel was born there and later moved to Dubai and Europe, but he often returned with his camera to visit his friends and family. So, he built a personal archive of footage and interviews. Over the years, it captures generations of families trying their best to survive and live life.
Naila And The Uprising (2017)
Naila and the uprising mixes archive footage, animation, and interviews to tell the story of Naila Ayesh, an activist from Gaza. It highlights the strong ironclad network of women during the first intifada, who were determined to make the world recognize Palestine as a free nation. It is a heartbreaking story to watch, but it is important to highlight. Getting a first-person viewpoint into the resistance movement gives a new perspective to the movement.
These films are filled with talent, culture, and compelling storylines. They also act as documentation to resist the attempt to erase Palestinians and a window into the life of Palestine.