Permissible Dreams | Cinema of the Palestinian Revolution

Palestinian cinema is one of the rare cinemas in the world that is structurally exilic, as it is made either in the condition of internal exile in the occupied Palestine, or under the erasure and tensions of displacement and external exile in other countries. – Hamid Naficy

Permissible Dreams is a strand of contemporary and archive films exploring the politics and poetics of Palestinian cinema, the question of a Palestinian archive, and its relationship to our wider understanding of politics in the Middle East.

We look at some of the radical responses in film to moments of political rupture in the region such as the Nakba of 1948 and the Six Day War of 1967, the latter of which inspired the formation of the New Cinema Collective and the birth of New Arab Cinema.

We celebrate the legacy of Egyptian filmmaker Ateyyat El Abnoudy, one of several women at the vanguard of the movement. Her “poetic realist” style was profoundly influential and helped reshape the way Arab life was presented on screen.

Her commitment to championing people’s right to represent themselves authentically is hugely resonant when thinking about Palestinian cinema, and particularly when considering the disappearance and intentional destruction of a PLO film archive containing films spanning 25 years of Palestinian history by Israeli forces in 1982 – the recovery of which of which remains of great significance today.

Supported by Film Hub Scotland (this support is made possible through
funding from Creative Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI) through
the Pilot Project programme.

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70 Years of Nakba | 9 Palestinian Short Films

Join us for a diverse and thought-provoking programme of 9 short films by both emerging and established Palestinian filmmakers. The first part of the programme reflects directly on the events of the Nakba (the 1948 Catastrophe) and the dream of return through animation, oral testimony and digital technology.  The second part explores contemporary experiences, through traditional documentary, docu-drama and the film essay.

Works screened:

Part One: History and exile
– House, Ahmed Saleh, 4m
– Alyasiini, Sahera Dirbas, 22m
– Your father was born 100 years ago and so was the Nakba, Razan Al Salah, 7m

Part Two: Contemporary dreams and realities
– Oslo Syndrome, Ayman Azraq, 6m
– Journey of a Sofa, Alaa Al Ali, 9m
– Twenty Handshakes for Peace, Mahdi Fleifel, 3m
– Message to Obama, Muhannad Salahat, 7m
– Interference, Anim Nayfeh, 11m
– Today they Took my Son, Farah Nabulsi, 8m

Presented by Dr. Anandi Ramamurthy, Reader in Post-Colonial Cultures at Sheffield Hallam University

The programme is curated by Creative Interruptions, an Arts and Humanities Research Council Project that aims to explore the way in which disenfranchised communities use the arts to have their voice heard.

Info

Event: Screening

Director: Various

Date: Saturday 01 December

Time: 3.15pm

Running Time: 77m

Location: Edwin Morgan Studio, Scottish Youth Theatre

Cinema of the Palestinian Revolution

Following a research and restoration project conducted by Creative Interruptions, this special screening of five restored films produced during the period of the Palestinian revolution marks an important retrieval of Palestinian revolutionary cinema, following the loss of the PLO Film Unit archive after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Until very recently the whereabouts of the archive were unknown. While it is now clear that the Israeli military seized it, its access is limited and denied to Palestinians. The aim of the restoration project has been to return these films to both a Palestinian and international public – hoping that doing so will encourage a deeper understanding of Palestinian cinema history and the intellectual ideas that influenced the PLO’s Arts and Culture Unit.

Works screened:

  • Zahrat Al-Madain AKA The Flower of all Cities, dir. Ali Siam, cinematography: Hani Jawharieh (7m, 1969)
  • Palestine in the Eye, dir. PLO Film Unit/Mustafa Abu Ali (28m, 1976)
  • The Urgent Call of Palestine, dir. Ismail Shammout (5m, 1973)
  • Glow of Memories, dir. Ismail Shammout  (12m, 1972)
  • Palestinian Identity, dir. Kassem Hawal (40m, 1984)

Introduced by Dr. Anandi Ramamurthy, Reader in Post-Colonial Cultures at Sheffield Hallam University

Curated by Creative Interruptions, an Arts and Humanities Research Council Project that aims to explore the way in which disenfranchised communities use the arts to have their voice heard.

Presented in partnership with Creative Interruptions and supported by Film Hub Scotland.

Info

Event: Screening

Director: Various

Year: 1969-84

Date: Friday 30 November

Time: 7.45pm

Running Time: 107m

Location: Edwin Morgan Studio, Scottish Youth Theatre

Document x Dardishi | Publication

In celebration of the pioneering women of Arab cinema we are producing a publication with our friends at Dardishi, consisting of words and images from Palestinian women that reflect on the idea of a Palestinian archive, particularly from a feminist point of view. They explore the breadth and diversity of an archive might be, what forms it might take, and how it might relate to the preservation of histories, cultures and identities that exist under conditions of exile and occupation.

The publication will be available throughout the festival weekend, with proceeds going towards Dardishi Festival 2019.

Dardishi Festival is a community-run festival that celebrates and showcases Arab and North African women’s contributions to contemporary art and culture // 8-10 March 2019.

Info

Event: Publication

Kings & Extras: Digging for a Palestinian Image

Palestinian director Azza El Hassan embarks on an intriguing, moving and sometimes humorous road-trip on the trail of a lost archive of films made by the PLO Media Unit, which went missing during the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982. The film stock documents 25 years of Palestinian history – often denied or ignored – including the moment of civilian expulsion that occurred during the Six Day War of 1967 and the PLO’s activity in Lebanon up until 1982.

She travels through Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, following the contradictory and often confusing clues as to the archive’s whereabouts, all the while prompting a deeper reflection on Middle East politics, Arab life, and the question of what a Palestinian identity means today.

Info

Event: Screening

Director: Azza El Hassan

Year: 2004

Country: Palestine, Germany

Date: Friday 30 November

Time: 5.30pm

Running Time: 59m

Location: Gold Room, Scottish Youth Theatre

Permissible Documentaries: The Non-Fiction Poetics of Ateyyat El Abnoudy

This illustrated talk will further explore El Abnoudy’s socialist poetics and political aesthetics and discuss how she has given shape to Egypt’s documentary tradition. Popularly known as “the mother of Egyptian documentary”, she began her filmmaking career in the early 1970s as one of the key figures of New Arab Cinema, negotiating from the outset what she called “permissible dreams” – the right to foreground the voices of working class Egyptians and take a more intersectional approach to representation. As a pioneer of politically and socially engaged documentary, she influenced many young female filmmakers whilst challenging the male-dominated ruling classes and the similarly homogenous cinematic standards of the time.

This talk is preceded – at 12noon – by Three by Ateyyat El Abnoudy, a screening of three early works from the filmmaker.

Presented by Dr Stefanie Van De Peer, Research Fellow at the University of Exeter

Supported by Film Hub Scotland

Info

Event: Illustrated Talk

Date: Saturday 01 December

Time: 1.30pm

Running Time: 90m

Three by Ateyyat El Abnoudy

Three early works from the legendary Ateyyat El Abnoudy, perhaps the finest exponent of documentary filmmaking in Egyptian history. Nicknamed ‘the poor people’s filmmaker”, her films focus on the social and economic issues of the Egyptian, Arab and African underclasses, and especially those of women – choices which limited her popular appeal for many years and frequently invited the displeasure of Arab governments. However, her artistry is universally applauded and these works in particular remain beautiful and poignant examples of her ability to articulate both the struggle and the vibrancy of Cairo’s urban landscape.

We present these works as an interrupted screening, pausing between the films to discuss their form and content.

Works Screened:

  • Horse of Mud  – Egypt, 1971, 12m
  • Sad Song of Touha – Egypt, 1972, 12m
  • The Sandwich – Egypt, 1975, 12m

The screening will be followed by, Permissible Documentaries: The Non-Fiction Poetics of Ateyyat El Abnoudy – at 13:30 – an illustrated talk further exploring El Abnoudy’s socialist poetics and political aesthetics and discuss how she has given shape to Egypt’s documentary tradition.

Presented by Dr Stefanie Van De Peer, Research Fellow at the University of Exeter

Supported by Film Hub Scotland

Info

Event: Screening

Director: Ateyyat El Abnoudy

Year: 1971 - 1975

Country: Egypt

Date: Saturday 01 December

Time: 12.00pm

Running Time: 60m

Location: Edwin Morgan Studio, Scottish Youth Theatre