Films are a reflection of identity. They are a window to new ideas, places and dimensions and it is just amazing how each movie is able to capture different aspects of life.
I haven’t visited Palestine… Yet. But I am a huge fan of its national cinema which is relatively young and unique since it exists in the absence of statehood. I believe that promoting Palestinian films gives Palestinians the right to narrative and self-representation despite all attempts to deprive them of these rights and that is why I am sharing 5 Palestinian movies that everybody must watch:
1. Salt of This Sea
Salt of this Sea is the first feature film made by a female Palestinian director. It is the story of Soraya, a Palestinian woman born in Brooklyn who travels to Ramallah to reclaim her grandfather’s home and money that had been taken from him prior to his expulsion in 1948. She meets Emad, who wants to leave Palestine and, tired of the constraints on their lives, they decide to take matters into their own hands, even if it means breaking the law.
2. 5 Broken Cameras
5 broken cameras is a documentary structured around stories captured through 5 lenses. It was almost entirely shot by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat who depicts protests in Bil’in, a village in the West Bank that was heavily affected by the Israeli West Bank Barrier.
I am sure you must be familiar with this multi award winning Oscar nominated film. Omar is the first Palestinian film entirely funded by Palestinians and it tells the story of a young Palestinian man under pressure to collaborate with the Israeli authorities while being stuck in a love triangle and a revolutionary trio.
4. Laila’s Birthday
Laila’s Birthday is a comedy narrating the daily life of a former judge turned taxi driver in Ramallah. On the day of his daughter’s 10th birthday, he needs to be home at 8 pm with a cake and a present and what appears to be a normal task becomes an adventure of life under occupation.
5. Divine Intervention
Divine Intervention is a black comedy with surrealist overtones, is comprised of a series of sketches that form an overriding, if not slightly bizarre narrative. The film follows a day in the life of a Palestinian man from Nazareth and his relationship with a girl from the city of Ramallah, several checkpoints away. The film contains very little dialogue, instead focusing on the actions and behaviors of its characters.