Highlights include Amina Waheed’s Chicago-filmed documentary Corner Stores and Jessica Habie’s boldly experimental feature Mars at Sunrise. Read more about Chicago Palestine Film Festival returns with Oscar-nominated “Omar”
In his new feature film, Laila’s Birthday, director Rashid Masharawi paints a bittersweet picture of life in the West Bank city of Ramallah. There, Masharawi’s main character, Abu Laila (played by the legendary Palestinian actor Mohammad Bakri), struggles to make ends meet as a taxi driver while attempting to get a license to work as a judge from the bureaucratic Palestinian Authority. EI’s Maureen Clare Murphy reviews. Read more about Film review: Absurd humor succeeds in "Laila's Birthday"
A young woman stands before a camera refusing to take the chair the director has set up. He asks why? “I have come to sing,” she says. Irritated, the director orders her, “You must act, didn’t they tell you we are looking for actors here?” With calm assertion she insists, “I do not know how to act. I have come to sing. Come on, you film and I will sing…” This scene illustrates a main theme running through Rashid Masharawi’s latest feature film Waiting: Palestinians forced to speak from someone else’s script, writes Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah in this review of Masharawi’s latest feature which had its Chicago premiere at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival 2006. Read more about Film Review: Rashid Masharawi's "Waiting"
It begins ordinarily enough — kids play soccer, people walk freely about the streets, and a mailman delivers letters from afar. This is Gaza in 1993, before the Oslo Peace Accords, and the setting for Curfew (1993), which was written and directed by Rashid Masharawi. “Always the same refrain. Tomorrow is another day and after that comes another day. And what will happen today?” Unfortunately, this day freedom will transform into restriction as Israeli soldiers call for a curfew that confines the Palestinian inhabitants to their homes; a restriction due to the ongoing occupation. Read more about Film review: "Curfew"