Censored 1981 film “Occupied Palestine” to be shown at Boston festival

Readers in the area are advised to clear their calendars for the annual Boston Palestine Film Festival which opens this Friday with Annemarie Jacir’s award-winning feature When I Saw You (with the director in virtual conversation and composer Kamran Rastegar in attendance) and closes with Mahdi Fleifel’s documentary A World Not Ours on 27 October.

Other festival highlights include:

  • A roundtable discussion on “Palestinian Narratives Across Genres” co-presented with the Palestine Festival of Literature with Mornings in Jenin author Susan Abulhawa (who will give a reading at the event) and directors Omar Robert Hamilton and Nora Sharif, whose respective short films, Though I Know the River is Dry and Ismail (inspired by the late Palestinian artist Ismail Shammout), will be screened, Saturday, 19 October.
     
  • Voices Across the Divide, an hour-long documentary by Alice Rothchild, “both a personal journey to understand the Palestinian narrative as well as the implications and contradictions of deeply held cultural beliefes in the Jewish community,” according to the program description. The director will be present for discussion following the film, Monday, 21 October.
     
  • It’s Better to Jump, a feature-length documentary on the contemporary Palestinian community in the ancient city of Akka, conquered by Zionist forces in 1948. Directors Gina Angelone, Patrick Stewart and Mouna Stewart will be present for conversation following the film, Monday, 21 October.
     
  • Mariam Shahin and George Azar’s two documentaries Beirut Photographer, in which Azar revisits the people he photographed during the Lebanese civil war, and Blogging Ramallah, which shows how five young Palestinians use social media to “address political issues within Palestinian society, the Israeli occupation and social and gender issues that they face on a daily basis.” Directors will be present for conversation following the film, Monday, 21 October.
     
  • The 1981 feature-length documentary Occupied Palestine by David Koff, which was “met with bomb threats and censorship on its initial release in the US … [and] remains a singular work of engaged filmmaking and a unique record of an overlooked chapter in the course of the conflict,” according to the program description, with the director in conversation following the film, Tuesday, 22 October.
     
  • Flying Paper, a feature-length documentary by Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill, on young Palestinian kite-flyers in Gaza “on a quest to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown,” according to the program description. Director Sawhney, a co-founder of the Boston Palestine Film Festival, will be present in conversation following the film, Thursday, 24 October.
     
  • The feature film Inheritance, the 2012 directorial debut of the prolific Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass, who also stars in the film, Friday, 25 October.
     
  • Benny Brunner’s 2012 documentary The Great Book Robbery on the looting of 70,000 Palestinian books by Zionist forces in 1948, Saturday, 26 October.
     
  • Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar’s 2012 experimental debut documentary Infiltrators, a stark and spare film which follows Palestinian laborers as they face grave dangers in circumventing Israel’s checkpoints and concrete barrier to get to their jobs. The director will be in virtual conversation following the film, Saturday, 26 October.

For full program schedule, visit bostonpalestinefilmfest.org.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

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Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.