Zochrot are happy to invite you to the 48mm Film Festival that will take place on November 23 in Iqrit and on November 29-30, 2019 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and the Left Bank Cine Club.
Zochrot’s annual 48mm Film Festival brings together cinematic works dealing with the Nakba and the return of Palestinian refugees from various perspectives and in different times and places. Shedding new light on historical and contemporary events, the films encourage us to think about the place we live in as well as imagine its future differently.
48mm is traditionally held around November 29, this year marking the 72st anniversary of the UN Partition Plan. This plan has entrenched the concept of division and separation between Jews and Palestinians – a major milestone in the ongoing Nakba – and has played a key role in turning hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into refugees.
The seventh edition of the festival includes homage to Ram Loevy.
Homage to Ram Loevy
Ram Loevy has created some of the most daring and politically subversive films in Israeli TV and cinema. In 1993, he was awarded the Israeli Prize for his lifework. The prize jury pointed to his "persistent struggle to show themes regarded as 'unacceptable,' though they touch on fundamental truths about Israeli society".
Loevy's impressive oeuvre consists of 70 films, both documentary and fiction. In what follows, we present some of his landmark films that radically changed the portrayal of Palestinians on Israeli TV and film screens.
Loevy was born in Tel Aviv in 1940, during the British Mandate of Palestine. He made his first film, "I am Ahmad", in 1966 as the film's producer and screenwriter. Since the beginning of the Israeli cinema, until the mid- to late sixties, most films focused on the mythic Jewish-Israeli hero – the sabra (native Israeli) kibbutznik and soldier – often within the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict. "I am Ahmad" was the first Israeli film that had a Palestinian as its protagonist and that portrayed an Arab not as a terrorist or enemy, but as an ordinary individual. Recently, the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School produced a tribute to the film, "The Voice of Ahmad" (2019), composed of short films inspired by this iconic cinematic work.
In 1969, Loevy directed "Barricades", a documentary about two families, Jewish and Palestinian, that lost their children in the 1948 War: Shevat family from Haifa and the family of Abu-Muhammed Yehia from the Jalazone refugee camp, originally from the village of 'Anaba. It was the first time that the Jewish-Israeli audience had an opportunity to experience the emotional significance of the Nakba to the Palestinian people. "Barricades" also challenged the prevalent Israeli attitude to the Palestinian refugees and their right of return. The film was shelved for three years and it was broadcast only in 1972. Ayelet Bechar paid tribute to "Barricades" in her short film "Take 3" that will be screened at the festival.
Stormy public debate and censored broadcasts accompanied also another Loevy's film, "Khirbet Khizeh" made in 1978. The film, based on S. Yizhar's canonical novella, also goes back to 1948. It will be screened at the festival and you can read more about it in the festival program.
While "Barricades" portrays families who lived through the war and Nakba, in "Khirbet Khizeh" Loevy turned to the written testimony of a writer who bore witness to their horrors. More than 70 years later, when the disturbing memory of the Nakba has given way to denial and all-pervasive amnesia, these two films keep bearing witness to what happened, sounding the voice of conscience silenced by the cannons, and naming the price we have paid and still pay for it.
Recently, Loevy has decided to refresh our selective memory and bear witness once more with his new film "The Dead of Jaffa" (2019). This time he also wants us to face the present consequences of the Nakba as for the Palestinians it never ended. The film takes place today in Jaffa where stories of a local Palestinian couple, three children from the West Bank, a Jewish policeman, and a British filmmaker intertwine. The drama of their encounters builds up and comes to a fatal finale on a film set reconstructing the 1948 war. Is the tragic end an unfortunate accident or inevitable given the history and current political situation? How can we finally lay to rest the ghosts of the Nakba and envision a better future?
Saturday | Nov 23 | 13:00 | Iqrit
You are welcome to join us on a tour of Iqrit and screening of the Sci-Fi Trilogy by Larissa Sansour in the village church.
Director: Larissa Sansour
Palestine | 2009-2016 | 44 min | Arabic with Heb & En subs
In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain
With Soren Lind
The film straddles the seams between sci-fi, archaeology, and politics. Combining live motion and computer-generated imagery (CGI), it explores the role of myth for history, fact, and national identity. A resistance group makes underground deposits of elaborate porcelain, attributed to an entirely fictional civilization. Their aim is to influence history and support future claims to their vanishing lands. Once unearthed by future archeologists, this tableware will prove the existence of this counterfeit people – in retrospect. By actualizing a myth of its own, the rebels’ work becomes a historical intervention – de facto creating a nation. Trailer
The Nation Estate project consists of a 9-minute sci-fi film and a photo series offering a clinically dystopian yet humorous approach to the deadlock in the Middle East. With its glossy mixture of CGI, live actors and an arabesque electronica soundtrack, the film explores a vertical solution to Palestinian statehood. Palestinians will have a state of their own in the form of a single skyscraper: the Nation Estate. One colossal high-rise will house the entire Palestinian population – now finally living the high life. Trailer
A Space Exodus
A Space Exodus quirkily sets an adapted stretch of Stanley Kubrick's Space Odyssey in a Middle Eastern political context. The film follows the artist herself in a phantasmagoric journey through the universe, echoing Kubrick's thematic concerns for human evolution, progress, and technology. In her film, however, Sansour posits the idea of the first Palestinian in space, and, paraphrasing Armstrong's moon landing, she interprets this fictional gesture as "one small step for a Palestinian, one giant leap for mankind". The film offers a naively optimistic vision for a future that contrasts sharply with the forces currently eating away at the very feasibility of a Palestinian state.
Friday | Nov 29 | 11:00 | Cinematheque 4
Guest speakers: Dalik Velinitz & Ayelet Bechar
Director: Ram Loevy
Israel | 1978 | 50 min | Hebrew & Arabic with En subs
Khirbet Khizeh, based on a novella by S. Yizhar, is a poignant account of young Israeli soldiers expelling inhabitants of a Palestinian village during the war of 1948. When the book was first published in 1949, it was added to the high school curriculum. Though it was much discussed in the press, its veracity was hardly challenged and few questioned whether it should be published. Back then, few Israelis were unaware that Palestinian villages and towns had been forcibly evacuated. Three decades later, when Ram Loevy made a film based on the novella, all hell broke loose, and its broadcast on TV was banned. Eventually, the film was broadcast but the storm continued to rage. It was called a "lie" and S. Yizhar was dubbed a "nemesis of Israel". Today, 40 years after the film was first broadcast and 70 years after the book was published, are we ready to face what really happened during the Nakba? Are we ready to ask about the fate of those villagers and their offspring? Are we prepared to act to change that fate?
Friday | Nov 29 | 14:00 | Cinematheque 1
Guest speaker: James C. O'Shea, Dep. Head of Mission, Embassy of Ireland
Directors: Garry Keane & Andrew McConnell
Ireland, Canada, Germany | 2019 | 94 min | Arabic, with Heb & En subs
In Gaza, the story belongs to the people who live there: a fisherman, cellist, paramedic, rapper, theatre director, refugee family patriarch, tailor, and fashion shows producer. Young rebels are also integral to Gaza's human fabric, protesting weekly at the fence enclosing Gaza. Gaza in the film is a place where rare smiles and brief moments of hope are interwoven with despair, frustration, and fatigue, a place where life moves in circles, where the weight of the past bears down on any imaginable future. Trailer
Friday | Nov 29 | 17:00 | Left Bank Cine Club
Guest speakers: Annemarie Jacir, Muhammad Bakri, Rachel Lea Jones
Director: Annemarie Jacir
Palestine, Colombia, Norway, United Arab Emirates, France, Germany and Qatar | 2017 | 97 min | Arabic with En & Heb subs
Abu Shadi is a divorced father and school teacher living in Nazareth. After his daughter's wedding, in one month he will be living alone. Shadi, his architect son, arrives from Rome after years abroad to help him in hand delivering the wedding invitations to each guest as per local Palestinian custom. As the estranged pair spends the day together, the tense details of their relationship come to a head, challenging their fragile and very different lives. Trailer
Saturday | Nov 30 | 11:00 | Cinematheque 2
Guest speakers: will be published soon
Imagine If You Dare
Israel, Palestine | 2014-2019 | 76 min | Hebrew & Arabic with Heb & En subs
A collection of short films exploring the most taboo subject in Israeli society: the right of return of the Palestinian refugees. Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers invite you to dare to imagine how return might look like. After the screenings, there will be a panel addressing the questions, fears, possibilities and hopes evoked by this highly charged subject.
Return Vision - Ehud Shem Tov, Social TV, 2019
After taking part in a pioneering Zochrot workshop about the return of Palestinian refugees, a group of Israelis envision the return while walking among the ruins of the Palestinian villages of Dayr Aban (Mahseya), Zakariyya (Zekharia), Bayt Nattif (Netiv HaLamed-Heh), and Bayt Jibrin (Beit Guvrin).
Welcome Back - Guy Königstein, 2014
In the midst of the recent round of violence on the Israeli border with Gaza, the filmmaker invites a group of friends to his native village in the Upper Galilee, to organize a reception for Palestinian returnees. How will the group face this challenge?
Amal & ʿAyed - Wassim Kheir, 2018
This is the story of Amal, a young girl from the third generation of refugees expelled from the village of al-Basa in the Galilee. Since her childhood, her grandma would tell her stories about the village. One night, after Amal argues with her grandma about the right of return, we are transported with her to another world. In a world created of the stuff dreams are made of, the return to al-Basa becomes real. Trailer
All Rights Reserved - Laila Bettermann & Anael Resnick, 2014
Taboo – Social prohibition against names, activities, people and conversation topics considered undesirable. Violating a taboo is seen as a despicable act.
Tabu – Property title deed (from Turkish, “tapu”). When the house and its tenants want to tell a story, but are silenced by the taboo, and objects have to speak in their stead. A house turns into a tile, a landlord into a lock and a meeting into a cup of tea.
Take 3 - Ayelet Bechar, 2015
A Palestinian refugee returns to visit his destroyed village, and is filmed for an Israeli documentary. Thirty years later, in a different documentary but in a remarkably similar scene, a refugee revisits his village. By an amazing coincidence, they turn out to be the same person: Abu-Muhammad from the village of ‛Anaba. Could the return scene be filmed for the third time?
Al-Shajara - Shadi Habib-Allah, 2019
#Udna Project, Al-Shajara Group
At first, we knew little about Al-Shajara, beyond the fact that it is located near Tiberias, and that all its inhabitants have been expelled in the Nakba. It is also known that the village is related to Naji al-Ali and the iconic cartoon image of Handala, the child uprooted from his village who came to symbolize the struggle for return. Although we share a common fate as a group of displaced persons from Al-Shajara and other villages, the Udna Project made it clear to us that each Palestinian village has a history and a memory of its own. At the same time, we came to feel a sense of belonging to the other destroyed villages. We imagine the return to Al-Shajara so that it would flourish once again, as would Palestine as a whole.
From Baysan to Beit She’an - Yuval Avraham, Social TV 2018
In 1948, Ben-Gurion’s government expelled thousands of Palestinians from Baysan, the city we now know as Beit She'an. Ninety year-old Abu Ahmed takes a group of young descendants of internally displaced Palestinians to visit his and their families' native place. How do these Palestinian teens envision the future of Baysan/Beit She'an? And what do the Mizrahi residents of the city, who have also been affected by discriminatory government policies, think about their potential return?
Saturday | Nov 30 | 14:00 | Cinematheque 2
Guest speaker: Nidal Badarny
Waiting for Faraj Allah
Director: Nidal Badarny
Palestine | 55 min | 2019 | Arabic with Heb & En subs
We are taken behind the scenes of a play in the making: Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, starring a group of young Palestinians. One by one, we are introduced to a variety of characters: director, actors, and other ordinary people. As we delve deeper into their lives, the film reveals the startling parallels between the themes of the play and their own. Everyone is waiting for something: a permit to build a house, better work conditions, a starring role in a film. While waiting for Faraj Allah (a given name that literally means "divine happy end"), as in Waiting for Godot, our heroes await something that may or may not come. Trailer
Saturday | 30.11. 2019 | 19:00 | Cinematheque 4
Director: Michael Rowley
USA | 87 min | 2019 | Arabic & English with Heb & En subs
Sami and Mohammad are two Palestinian youngsters looking for ways to cope with a world of walls, checkpoints, and unexpected arrests. They teach the youth in their communities parkour (urban obstacle running) and the art of storytelling through photography. Although these young men are separated by a wall, they are nevertheless united in leading the next generation to freedom and self-determination. With defiant creativity, they prove that no matter how high the obstacles, one can always climb them. Trailer