Palestine through Motion Pictures
By: Waverly Nohr / Arab America Contributing Writer
While the world watches the events play out in Palestine, sides are chosen and people become very divided. Human rights violations, casualties, and oppression of Palestinians mark these times in history. Movies can help to provide some relief and explanation in a narrative way, as we can see in movies made about the Palestinian- Israeli conflict. The cost of war and the dark history of the conflict in the region have made their way into movies whether it be in the 1980’s or this year, 2021.
The following films are different to each other in being either documentaries or narratives loosely based around the normalcies of recent times in Palestine. Without further ado, I present to you: 5 movies you should think about watching on your sofa at home.
1. Disturbing the Peace
Disturbing the Peace was a movie produced by Chuck Hustmyre in 2016, exploring the humanity behind the conflict. The stories behind Israelis and Palestinians that joined the army reveal that the mission is often lost in the name of national pride. In the holy land, the unholy war has over 14,000 deaths to date since 1987. Palestinian or Israeli, people are dying and no matter the reasons, that is not justified. Watch Disturbing the Peace on Netflix if you’re interested in a documentary while still staying involved in all aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Another movie that has been rated at an 100% tomatoer score on a popular movie ratings site, Rotten Tomatoes. Mayor is about the Mayor of Palestine, Mousa Hadid and how he faces the problem of being surrounded by Israeli settlements encroaching on their city. With a comedic and likeable draw, it is met with the serious underlying situation of the crisis in Palestine and outlines everything the citizens and the mayor cannot do, unlike other cities in the world. While the mayor is never surprised by the chaos each year, the Palestinians are very clearly being held back everything being offered by a liberalized, free Palestine.
An older film, made in 2009 called Amreeka, explores the challenging journey of a mother and her son moving from Palestine to Illinois. Being uprooted after the US invasion in Iraq, the mother and son are faced with additional hardships while living in a small town. This movie is a great watch for a more empathetic view of the life that is made of immigrants and seeing in what things they find comfort. In light of US involvement of the current issue, we can see that the United States is far from uninvolved. Along the same seam, we can see what influence the war in Iraq had on the livelihood of Palestinian families. Watch Amreeka on Hulu, Netflix, or Prime video!
4. Jenin, Jenin
The fourth movie suggestion is an unscripted, unnarrated film called Jenin, Jenin. In this 2002 film, Palestinians are interviewed about the battle in Jenin and everything that followed it. Jenin, Jenin has been previously banned in Israel due to the nature of the film and showing the true stories of Palestinians and how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has affected them. With the censoring of films in Israel, the independent narratives of Palestine can not be heard by the world. By watching this movie, you can hear them. Jenin, Jenin can be found online at amazon.com!
5. The Present
The Present, while set in the West Bank, follows the story of a man. This film unapologetically shows the treatment and the life that is normal to Palestinians under oppression. In this 24 minute mini-film found on Netflix, the main character faces many obstacles in buying a simple gift where he lives because of who he is: a Palestinian. Farah Nabulsi deserves praise as the director of the movie, so eloquently fitting an important issue in the background of this very short film.
Keeping today in Mind…
While concluding, we’d like to recap the importance of keeping informed on world events and knowing the position that the United States has as a major power of the world. The issues in Gaza are important and should be brought to the attention of everyone, Palestinians need advocacy if they are to be liberated and live in harmony. Watch these movies and un-can the history of this issue while enjoying the Palestinian-made films. Breaking out of your comfort zones is important and can prove to be worthwhile if you keep an open mind and show determination to learn.
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