Palestine on Screen—Why You Must See “Inch’Allah”

By SCOTT MCCONNELL • April 15, 2013, 12:24 PM

The American Conservative 

Inch’Allah,” Anais Barbeau-Lavalette’s feature about Israel-Palestine, may be the strongest effort yet to convey the emotions of the supercharged struggle over land and dignity in the present period. For nearly a half-century, those who wanted justice in Palestine hoped that some representation of their narrative could reach the screen. They lived in the shadow, of course, of the epochal power of  “Exodus,” probably the most effective propaganda film in world history.  A great many years ago I recall Andrew Sarris telling a Columbia film class that the Palestinians were enthused when Jean-Luc Godard got funding to make a movie about their struggle, but were disappointed by the results.  What they had in mind was something like a modern western, with the fedayeen in the role of heroic good guys, a project which was never really in the French auteur’s wheelhouse.

Numerous films have sought to convey  something of the moral ambiguity of the struggle, including Steven Spielberg’s “Munich.” I haven’t seen Julian Schnabel’s “Miral,” based on the novel/memoir by Rula Jabreal, the story of an orphanage for Palestinian  girls whose parents were killed at Deir Yassin.  Many had high hopes for the film, perhaps because of the widely acknowledged talent, warmth, and celebrity of Schnabel, but for one reason or another the movie never really took off.

“Inch’Allah” can’t boast the star power of Jean-Luc Godard or Julian Schnabel; its director, Barbeau-Lavalette, is young and highly regarded in the Quebec film world, but not any sort of household name. But her movie deserves the hopes and access to screens granted to “Miral,” and more. It is a tough, gritty, and intense portrayal of Palestinian life under the occupation and the moral dilemmas faced by those—like the Canadian doctor played by the gorgeous Evelyne Brochu—who get involved trying to help them. The Palestinians, three generations ago a rural and pacific people, have been ghettoized and hardened. More than any movie I’ve seen, “Inch’Allah” conveys the something of the feel of Palestinian life, sarcastic and bitter in the younger generations, old-fashioned in the older ones, trying cope under a system of domination and control far more sophisticated than anything South Africans could dream up.  Read more 

The Independent: A plea from Palestine’s first female director Judge me by my films not my gender

TUESDAY 02 APRIL 2013

One recent trend in world cinema that has become hard to ignore is the rapid emergence of Arab women film-makers. Directors such as Saudi Arabian Haifaa Al-Mansour, Palestine-American Cherien Dabis and Lebanese Nadine Labaki have been feted at festivals all round the world. Acknowledging this new wave, the Birds Eye View Film Festival is this year celebrating female Arab film-makers.

Not that all the directors involved relish their work being judged in terms of their gender or Arabic background. Annemarie Jacir is often called Palestine’s “first woman feature film director” but the label is clearly beginning to grate a little. Jacir (whose new feature, When I Saw You, opens the festival next week) would prefer to be acknowledged as a film-maker in her own right rather than as a standard bearer for Arab womanhood.

“I don’t think women make different kinds of films to men,” Jacir states. “You just want to be a film-maker. Yes, I am Palestinian, yes, I am a woman – but I am so many other things too… it does box you in at times.”

Read more…

2013 London Palestine Film Festival

Welcome to the 2013 London Palestine Film Festival

This year’s programme comprises 24 events at the Barbican Cinema and University of London, involving 38 titles, 24 guest speakers, and the UK’s first international conference on Palestine and the Moving Image.

Opening with a gala screening of David Koff’s trailblazing 1981 documentary, Occupied Palestine, the 2013 programme boasts historic depth with rarities including a thematic session marking the 25th anniversary of the first intifada, and an outing for Elia Suleiman’s debut, Homage by Assassination (part of 1991 portmanteau The Gulf War… What Next?).

There’s plenty of fresh material on offer too, with some 20 premieres, including a sharp new doc on life in the Syrian Golan heights, a revealing account of the vast quarrying industries in the West Bank, and the story of a spectacular kite flying world record bid in Gaza. Exceptional shorts and animations run throughout the programme, along with some bold new experimental works from Palestine and beyond.

For more information on the festival visit Palestine Film Foundation