11 documentaries you need to see to understand Palestine
When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is widely considered the world’s most complicated conflict of the last century, cinema has offered an alternative perspective to the media’s often biased and superficial coverage.
These are 11 documentaries that offer in-depth insight into the history of the conflict, its evolution and the complicated lives of the Palestinians.
1. Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority (2006)
The comprehensive documentary analytically examines the historical roots of the conflict, the effects of the occupation on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the media’s representations of the conflict. It also addresses facts, myths and misconceptions about its controversies.
2. 5 Broken Cameras (2011)
The documentary offers a deeply personal look at the occupation of the West Bank through the lenses of one Palestinian farmer simultaneously documenting the growth of his family and the resistance of his village to Israeli settlements over the course of five years.
3. Palestine is Still the Issue (2002)
Through a series of compelling interviews with both Palestinians and Israelis, the documentary presents the complexities of the issue by exploring the barriers that stand against the possibility of peace.
4. Budrus: It Takes a Village to Unite the Most Divided People on Earth (2009)
Offering a glimpse of the variety of opportunities for peace, the documentary follows Palestinian Ayed Morrar as he unites his community and leads the peaceful resistance of Israel’s Separation Barrier while it threatens to destroy his village Budrus.
5. The Wanted 18 (2014)
Using animation, archival footage and interview, the animated documentary recreates the events of the true story of Palestinians who during the First Intifada hid 18 cows they had bought to produce their own milk after Israeli forces declared them a national security threat.
6. Tears of Gaza (2010)
The raw documentary discards analysis, narration and interviews and instead uses footage from Palestinians to document the 2008-2009 bombing of Gaza and follows a group of women and children as they go through everyday life in the circumstances of war.
7. Israel vs. Israel
The documentary tells the story of four Israelis trying to peacefully resist the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and improve life for the Palestinians living under occupation as they are shunned and ridiculed by their own community.
8. Flying Paper (2010)
The humbling documentary shows a different side of Palestine. It offers a glimpse into the hopeful resilience of the Palestinian community as it documents the attempt of Palestinian teenagers in the Gaza Strip to break the Guinness World Record for the most kites ever flown.
9. Al-Nakba: The Palestinian Catastrophe 1948 (1997)
Spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, the four-part documentary examines the historical background of the conflict from the British Mandate and the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians to the ongoing issues that spill into the present day.
10. Promises (2001)
The documentary examines the lives of seven Palestinian and Israeli children who live in Jerusalem and documents the stark differences between the circumstances in which they are growing up.
11. Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land (2004)
Exploring how propaganda and political lobbying play a major role in ensuring the United States’ continued support of Israel, the film provides and eye-opening and fascinating look into American media and politics.