The 2016 Palestinian Film Festival is coming to Melbourne. During the last weekend of November, cinephiles will have the opportunity to discover Palestinian perspectives from around the world. With eight feature films and nine short films screening, we’ve prepared a list of our top picks of some of the award-winning movies and documentaries on offer.
After the 1967 war with Israel, the Touma family lost all its money and status. The three Touma sisters decide to lock themselves away in their house and turn their back on the world. The comfort and safety they manage to create, is shattered when their young orphaned niece, Badia, comes into their lives. This directorial debut from Suha Arraf offers a feminist and political perspective on life in Palestine.
A woman screaming in the darkness leads Radi — a recluse who lives in his van — on a road trip that will change his life forever. Radi’s adventure brings him into contact with a Palestinian/Syrian woman, a Lebanese artist and a Jordanian policeman. This absorbing road movie by Rifqi Assaf explores how despite our differences, we all share the same fears, hopes and emotions and that human connection is the most important thing we seek.
Documentarian Mai Masri’s first feature film focuses on a Palestinian schoolteacher who is serving a prison sentence after being falsely convicted for a terrorist collaboration in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. During Layla’s 3000 night sentence, she discovers she is pregnant and decides to keep the baby despite orders that she terminate the pregnancy. 3000 Nights is a film about survival, resilience and hope for Palestinian women.
Nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the 88th Academy Awards, Ave Maria is not your conventional comedy. A religious Israeli family crashes their car into the Sister of Mercy convent. With the approaching Sabbath, the family needs to get home fast. However, they are unable to use a phone due to Sabbath laws and the nuns have taken a vow of silence. Somehow, they must work together to help them get home.
A Man Returned
Another of the short films on offer during the festival, A Man Returned follows Reda, a Palestinian refugee struggling to make a life for himself in Lebanon’s Ain El-Helweh camp. After being trapped in Greece for three years and becoming addicted to heroine, Reda decides that he will marry his childhood sweetheart. This poignant love story was the winner of the Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival.
Myron My is an avid fan of anything theatre, live performance, film and Survivor related. Follow him @MyronMy9.
The Palestinian Film Festival runs in Melbourne from 25 to 27 November 2016. Check the website for other cities.
All films will be screened in their original languages with English subtitles.