Art, Music & Culture

Film Review: Like Twenty Impossibles (2003)

“Like Twenty Impossibles” is the work of Annemarie Jacir, co-written with Kamran Rastegar. Jacir is a Palestinian filmmaker, activist, and poet living between New York City and Palestine. The 17-minute short mockumentary tells the story of a journey in a country where checkpoints and a sinister patchwork of controlled areas make freedom of movement itself impossible, aptly portraying the complexities of oppression with a cast and crew that understand it. It is shot on location in Palestine, and the images of guns and power overwhelm the viewer as well as the waylaid film crew. 

Review: Poster art of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Dan Walsh, creator of the online exhibition Antonym/Synonym: The Poster Art of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, thinks that taking a look at political posters can enable “a new democratic discussion.” His website, Liberation Graphics, which features over 100 posters, a mere fraction of his collection, can only be described as a labor of love. Each poster is catalogued with an essay that both analyzes the poster’s formal and conceptual qualities, and places the subject matter within a brief historical context. 

Edward Said puts the Palestinian narrative of struggle in a global context in “Culture and Resistance”

The interviews by David Barsamian with Edward Said in the new book Culture and Resistance: Conversations with Edward Said do not provide any in-depth analysis on a given topic. But they rather serve as meditations - if one can consider Osama bin Laden, malnutrition in Gaza, and misunderstandings between the U.S. and the Arab world topics for meditation. Not intended to provide precise, detailed historical analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the book rather functions to provide a unique perspective on some of the most important problems that plague the world by one of the world’s preeminent thinkers. Maureen Clare Murphy reviews the book for EI

Photostory: Dancing towards freedom

Comprised of teenagers from the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in the West Bank, the Ibdaa dance troupe performs internationally, has been featured in documentaries, and are no strangers to the press. And while to some this may seem like a glamorous lifestyle, it seems to the performers it’s anything but. Having to repeatedly communicate to American audiences the every day struggles that come with life under military occupation is disheartening when they return to the West Bank to find that the status quo of curfews and human losses continues unabated while the whole world watches. 

Palestine's neglected treasure trove

As home to the earliest known human settlements and the world’s holiest cities, historical Palestine is literally a treasure chest of antiquities.  Remnants of Canaanite temples and towns, Byzantine mosaics and monasteries and Mamluk and Ottoman mosques all stand witness to the region’s long and colourful past. Many of the most important archaeological and historical sites are located in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. But years of conflict have left Palestinian antiquities in a sad state and in many cases out of Palestinian control. Al Jazeera reports how archaeology in the occupied territories has become a political matter. 

1st Ramallah Film Festival announces call for submissions

The 1st Ramallah International Film Festival (Spring 2004) is glad to invite all Palestinian filmmakers to participate in the RIFF and submit their films to the “Palestinian Silver Screen” section of the festival. “Palestinian Silver Screen” is a competitive section of the RIFF which will be dedicated solely to Palestinian cinema. It is aimed at creating an annual platform for Palestinian cinema and international exposure to the selected films and their makers. Palestinian Silver Screen is open to all, but will underline the work made today by young, up-coming filmmakers from Palestine and around the world, and will present a kaleidoscope view of their films, documentaries, shorts, video Art and experimental films. 

A. M. Qattan Foundation announces 2004 Culture and Science Programme

Despite the continuing deterioration of life in Palestine in the last three years, the A. M. Qattan Foundation’s Culture and Science Programme enters its fifth year with a number of substantial achievements. As well as continuing to support a number of young artists and creators to reach new stages in their development, the programme has initiated a number of modules for 2004. When the programme was launched in 2000, it included fifteen prizes and grants with a value of $70,500. In 2003, the number of awards and prizes exceeded 30 and reached a total value of $147,500, an increase of 109 percent, despite the obstacles and disruptions affecting all sectors of life under occupation. 

Review: Arna's Children

Speechless. Silent. I could not move. I just sat there, watching the screen, the scrolling text of dedication and the names of Arna’s children: Youssef, Nidal, Ashraf, and Ala. Arna’s children form a small theatre group of Palestinian children in Jenin. Arna’s son Juliano, director of this film, was directing the theatre group. All those years, from 1989 to 1996, Juliano filmed the rehearsals and performances of the plays. He films Ala sitting on the ruins of his home blown up by Israeli soldiers, growing up to become a fighter in Jenin. EI’s Arjan El Fassed saw the film and comments. 

Book review: Resistance - My Life for Lebanon

The greatest struggle in Soha Béchara’s life was not plotting to assassinate Antoine Lahad, the Lebanese chief of militia in Israeli-occupied Southern Lebanon during the 1980s. Rather, her true test was somewhat parallel to that of her home country of Lebanon — to survive living under the tyranny of the occupying Israelis. But in Béchara’s case, her prison was a literal one. However, Béchara’s memoirs are missing that extra layer of narration that would let readers in on the true mental process of someone who is ready to give their life for their country. 

Book Review: "Reporting from Ramallah" (2003)

In the foreword to Reporting from Ramallah: An Israeli Journalist in an Occupied Land (2003), filmmaker and activist Rachel Leah Jones describes Amira Hass’ body of work as the complete story on the confiscation of land, paving of bypass roads, and expansion of Israeli settlements. These 37 selected writings form a shorter chronological account aimed primarily at a target audience of Israeli Jews. Hass is an Israeli journalist and recipient of the UNESCO Guillermo Camo World Press Freedom Prize for 2003. From 1993 to 1997, she reported exclusively from Gaza. Tina Dybvik reviews Hass’ new book.