The SPHR is currently holding a documentary marathon entitled “The Demise of Occupation: Unveil the Conflict” at Concordia University. “We usually just have random movie nights,” explains Noor Tibi, secretary general of the SPHR. “But this time we grouped them together to make a movie marathon.”
The first two documentaries, shown last Friday evening, left viewers with a clear understanding of what the marathon would be all about. “Gaza Strip”, a 2002 film by American documentary filmmaker James Longley, portrayed a disturbing account of what life under the occupation is like. Immediately following “Gaza Strip” was a showing of “Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone?”, a documentary produced by the Palestinian Housing Rights Movement in 1995. Awarded an Honorable Mention for the Lindheim Award in the Third Annual Jewish Video Competition, the documentary details the effects of Israel’s urban planning policies that have led to the uprooting of the Palestinian presence in the Holy City.
Two more documentaries will be shown tonight. “Palestine is Still the Issue”, a 2002 film by award-winning journalist and film-maker John Pilger. In 1977, Pilger made a documentary of the same name, in which he told how almost one million Palestinians had been forced off their land in 1948, and again in 1967. In this in-depth documentary, he returns to the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, to ask why the Palestinians still live in an indeterminate state, despite having their right of return affirmed by the United Nations more that 50 years ago.
The second documentary of the night will be “Jenin Jenin”, winner for Best Film at the Carthage International Film Festival in 2002. Directed and co-produced by Palestinian actor and director Mohammed Bakri, it includes testimonies from Jenin residents after the Israeli army’s Defensive Wall operation. Banned in Israel, the film is dedicated to producer Iyad Samudi who was killed by Israeli forces on June 23, 2002.
The movie marathon will end on Friday with a showing of “Jerusalem’s High Cost of Living”, a documentary made in 2001 detailing the return of a Palestinian-American filmmaker to Jerusalem a few weeks after the start of the final stage in the peace process. The film follows him as he eventually finds himself in the midst of Ariel Sharon’s fateful incursion into the Noble Sanctuary (Al-Aqsa).
“We usually try to show the latest publications,” says Tibi. “The committee chose the movies on the basis of how the Canadian public would accept what is being shown. Obviously, we always try to choose the more factual ones rather than something that expresses how we think and feel.”
Movie times and locations:
Wednesday, February 5, 2003
Location: Room H-110
“Palestine is Still the Issue”,
“Jenin Jenin”, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, February 7, 2003
Location: Room H-937
Repeat viewing of “Jenin Jenin”, 5:30 p.m.
“Jerusalem’s High Cost of Living”, 7:00 p.m.
(All documentaries include English subtitles).