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Tales of strife, resilience and hope from Palestine at DIFF 2010

Mon Dec 06,2010

Tales from Palestine and about Palestinian people have been showcased at DIFF since its inception. This year, we have three films by Palestinian filmmakers themselves, who bring an on-the-ground perspective about the realities of life in Palestine. They went through great difficulties making the films - another example of the resilience of the people that is the central theme of the movies.

Abdallah Al Ghoul’s Tathkara Min Azrael (Ticket from Azrael) charts the desperate efforts of a Palestinian man digging an escape tunnel from Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, through to Egypt. This powerful and sobering account of realities of life in occupied Palestine makes its world premiere on Dec. 15 and will be screened again on Dec. 17 at Cinestar Mall of the Emirates.

With Al Tareeq Ila Bait Lahem (The Road to Bethlehem), Palestinian filmmaker and founder/CEO of Open Bethlehem Leila Sansour returns to her hometown of Bethlehem to make a film about the wall. The intense but whimsical documentary will make its world premiere in Dubai on Dec. 16, followed by a second screening on Dec. 18. In the film, Sansour documents her battle with local bureaucracy and the effect of the Israeli-imposed barrier upon the local population. The moving and insightful documentary emerges as a lovingly-crafted paean to Sansour’s hometown and all that it represents.

Filmed earlier this year in Dubai, Ghawas Gaza (Gaza Diver), a documentary by award-winning photographer Ali Khalifa Bin Thalith, follows courageous Palestinian teenager Khalil al Jedaili, who lost his legs after a horrific bombing of his grandmother’s home in Gaza. Brought to Dubai in March to be fitted for prosthetic legs, the young man decided to start practicing scuba diving while he was here. The film, which tracks his journey, will screen on Dec. 18 and 19.

Filmmaker Norma Marcos’ Fragments of a Lost Palestine, screening Dec. 17, has both French and Palestinian passports, yet finds herself a citizen of nowhere. Denied entry to Palestine by the Israeli authorities, she is unable to visit her ailing mother, and spends much of her time on the phone being given the runaround by civil servants. In a wide-ranging essay, through a series of conversations with friends, family and strangers, Marcos demonstrates that despite the inescapably tense political environment, life goes on. The film is a subjective journey, shot as fragmented memories of Marcos’s country of birth, Palestine, as she remembers it.

Kasidat Gaza, Palestine (Gaza-Strophe, Palestine) observes one embittered resident of Gaza, in this devastating new documentary focusing on the fall-out of the 2008/9 ‘Operation Cast Lead’ offensive ‘would claim it was defending itself even if it was on the Moon’. The reason for the bitterness is clearly evident, following a bombardment upon the civilians of Gaza, including the inhumane white phosphorous, the illegal use of which was initially denied by the Israelis. Directors Samir Abdallah and Khéridine Mabrouk, accompanied by their friends from the Palestinian Human Rights Centre, went to Gaza to film those left amidst the rubble of buildings, families and shattered lives. This powerful, harrowing document is testimony to the resilience and bravery of Gaza’s inhabitants as they try and rebuild their world, and will be screened on Dec. 16 and 18.

DIFF 2010 box office locations are: Cinestar Mall of the Emirates, Madinat Souk, the CNN Building in Dubai Media City and The Walk at JBR. Tickets can also be purchased through DIFF’s Dial-a-Ticket service at (04) 391 3378 and from the website www.dubaifilmfest.com.
The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, the home of the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The event is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

For more and updated information about DIFF, please visit www.dubaifilmfest.com

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