Saturday, January 17, 2009

33 Days - ٣٣ يوم

a Still from 33 days

22 days have passed and the massacres in Gaza are still being committed in ways no human can understand. A mirroring event, 2 years earlier, Lebanon was pounded continuously, brutally, and in the most cruel ways, for 33 days. Mai Masri documented this period of Lebanon history. As in any similar atrocities, war is fought in more than one front, director Masri, in her documentary, focuses her camera on different fronts on how any ordinary Lebanese was living, keeping distance from direct fire line. Without any scripted narration, the documentary reveals itself as a slideshow of events lived by the people trapped in the conflict. One camera follows the work by a TV news producer and her fight to bring to report the war to citizens and being forced away from her home during all the 33 days period. Another persepective direct our attention to a theater director who had done a marvelous job in entertaining displaced kids. A third front emphasize the efforts done by the civilian community in Lebanon to bring relief aids to refugees. Noting that all those storylines are being shown in parallel, we end up concluding that the efforts described in the documentary are ingredients to a successful resistance movement which led to a merited victory.
For Lebanese, this award winning masterpiece will surely unveil some emotions, maybe make a tear or two drop, but will get us firmly attached to our dignity, our pride, our land, and unity. It should be aired as well on most TV stations, western or local to give the side of wars aside what the news reports bring.
Mai Masri is a Palestinian director, I am not sure whether she can produce a similar documentary about the ongoing war in Gaza without being present there. But the tragic events should be documented in the same way it have been done during the war in Lebanon, even if conditions are much more difficult.

Related posts: Under the bombs, Slingshot Hip hop, Salt of this sea

Saturday, January 3, 2009

SlingShot Hip Hop - هيب هوب المقلاع

In the light of the tragic events that are shredding Gaza (which remind me to the latest infamous war against Lebanon in 2006 with ironically very similar circumstances), this post will be dedicated to the new award-winning documentary by Jackie Salloum: Slingshot Hip Hop.

Slingshot Hip Hop Trailer

Despite all the borders, walls, checkpoints, and the apartheid regime, this feature reveals the unity of the Palestinian population wherever they are. The movie is surprisingly amusing for a documentary, it reveals youth life and the continuing will to overturn the outcomes of the oppression imposed on occupied people. It highlights suavely different talents mainly in Hip Hop, that are blooming against the occupation and the indignity. The music they compose is enjoyable by youth, but also by elder people as some scenes indicates. That kind of culture is one way towards breaking the chain that imprisons bodies, but not minds of occupied people.
To resume, director Jackie Salloum redefines, and successfully corrects the image of the Arabs with respect to the vilification that floods screens of every westerner.
No one can ignore the big talent of Salloum, you can easily enjoy her studies about the western media vs. Arabian media by playing the videos below side by side; the first one emphasize the dehumanization of Arabs in the West medias, the other shows Arabs from their own eyes (mainly a successful montage from different Lebanese and Egyptian films).

Planet of the Arabs (up left), and Arabs a Go-go (lower right) by Jackie Salloum

I can only hope such movie reach a wide audience not only in the middle-east, but especially in Europe and USA.
Note that this is not the first post on a Palestinian movie, I would remind of another one discussing the great feature Salt of This Sea.