Art, Music & Culture

Film Review: The Balata Film Collective: "Nour's Dream"

Maymanah Farhat
21 June 2006


This year at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival, the Balata Film Collective presented their thirty-one minute documentary Nour’s Dream. Through a visual journey of Palestinian history, culture, heritage and resistance the film demonstrates the imperative need for the documentation of Palestinian lives. As the fictional main character, Nour narrates the documentary by informing the viewer of the significance of stones within past and present Palestinian society.

International Benefit Concert for Palestine in London

21 June 2006


On the 29th of June, 2006, the Balata-London Link Benefit Concert will take place at the Rivoli Ballroom in London, the United Kingdom. The Rivoli Ballroom is a unique venue in South London, that used to be a cinema in earlier times, and hosts 700 seats. The benefit is organized by John Hamilton, conductor of the Strawberry Thieves Choir, and aims to raise funds to bring a group of children from Balata Refugee Camp over to London, to work with youth groups and create drama and dance together.

Film Review: "Yasmine's Song"

Maymanah Farhat
11 June 2006


Najwa Najjar’s short feature film, Yasmine’s Song, 2005, uses the story of Yasmine, a young Palestinian woman living in a small Palestinian village, to articulate the even greater difficulties Palestinians are facing as their land, villages, communities and families become increasingly divided by the wall. In her film, Najjar examines the stifling effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian life through the most universal subject, love. The narrative of the film revolves around the love story of Yasmine and Ziad (a young man from her village).

Interview with Suheir Hammad

Christopher Brown
8 June 2006


I think that poetry tries to make a connection between the absences and the losses that I feel in my person, and make the connection to the body feeling detached or feeling displaced, and the reality of land and shelter and the idea of the continuity of citizenship and the idea of ancestry. I think reclaiming is an ambitious agenda - if you’re beginning to write a poem, will you actually be reclaiming the rights to a land or a nation and other rights to citizenship? So I think the work succeeds more when it’s about illuminating this detachment.

"Three Arab Painters in New York" to open in New York City

Maymanah Farhat
31 May 2006


Three Arab Painters in New York is an art exhibition that features the work of three leading New York-based Arab painters. Samia Halaby, Sumayyah Samaha and Athir Shayota have been contributing to contemporary American art for decades and have exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States. Varied in style, technique, medium, scale and artistic influence, the three present a glimpse into the diverse and complex nature of the Arab World’s art and visual culture.

Gaza artist opens "Fathers" exhibition

Sami Abu Salem
31 May 2006


Mr. Alain Rémy, the French Consul General in Jerusalem, and Moein Sadeq, the deputy general of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity (MTA) joined many people, including children, to gather under fluttering Palestinian and French flags at the door of the little museum of Qasr Albasha in the old city of Gaza. They gathered not for politics, but to celebrate the new exhibition, “Fathers,” by the Gazan artist Taysir Batniji, hosted at the museum under the patronage of the French Cultural Centre (CCF) and the MTA.

Film Review: "Bethlehem Bandolero"

Maymanah Farhat
18 May 2006


Bethlehem Bandolero is a quirky six-minute short by Palestinian filmmaker Larissa Sansour. In the role of a “Mexican gunslinger” that could be straight out of a Spaghetti Western, Sansour’s performance captures the irrationality of Israel’s building of a twenty-five foot “security” wall as means of seeking “peace” with Palestinians. Sansour confronts the illogic of the situation with her own demonstration of absurdity in a witty but bizarre journey in her native Palestine where she takes on the wall in a High Noon-like duel, dressed in a pistol-toting getup that includes a large red sombrero and a black and white polka-dot bandana that covers her face.

Film Review: "Last Supper (Abu Dis)"

Maymanah Farhat
19 May 2006


Issa Freij and Nicolas Wadimoff’s documentary Last Supper (Abu Dis) examines a Palestinian village on the outskirts of Jerusalem that is slowly being enclosed by the Israeli apartheid wall. The twenty-six minute film exposes the violations of human rights that are resulting from the supposed “security” measurements the Israeli government has taken over the past six years. As the wall expands, Palestinians continue to be cut off from their communities, land, farms, families and social infrastructures.

Groundbreaking Syrian film festival doesn't overlook the Palestinian question

11 May 2006


This week, international arts nonprofit ArteEast saw the beginning of its North American tour of “Lens on Syria: Thirty Years of Contemporary Cinema”, a groundbreaking exploration of Syrian cinema. “Lens on Syria” showcases over 30 Syrian feature films, documentaries and shorts, many subtitled in English and screening for the first time in the US. Often described as Arab cinema’s “best kept secret”, ArteEast’s Syrian cinema series provides an unprecedented opportunity for audiences in New York to discover a politically timely and relevant program.

Film Review: The Chicago Palestine Film Festival's Evening of Shorts

Maymanah Farhat
11 May 2006


Rina Khoury’s West…East, is a nine minute narrative film about the Palestinian catastrophe that is told through the journey of a blind woman and her son, amidst an ambiguous landscape. Enas Muthaffar’s East…West is a sixteen minute documentary film that chronicles her family’s expulsion from their home as the apartheid wall encroaches nearby and threatens to segregate them from their community. Both films were shown in conjunction with two short films by Annemarie Jacir, Some Crumbs for the Birds and An Explanation (and then burn the ashes).


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