Programmed by Emily Dreyfus and Zach Taylor
Uniting the finest achievements of Palestinian cinema from the 1970s to the present day, Palestine Envisioned bears witness to the strength and creative spirit of an entire people still struggling for basic rights after more than 65 years of displacement, dispossession, and dehumanization. This retrospective showcases films that explore memory and cultural identity in Palestine and give cinematic expression to the experience of daily life under occupation. In the context of current discussions concerning tolerance and racism at our university, this series helps to address the wider need for Palestinian perspectives on our campus and encourages reflection on questions of prejudice and stereotyping.
This series is co-sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Chicago Palestine Film Festival. Keep an eye out for FREE sponsored screenings below!
(A. Shomali & P. Cowan, 2014) · An innovative mix of stop-motion animation and documentary, The Wanted 18 tells the true story of 18 cows deemed a “security risk” by Israel in 1988 after residents of the Palestinian town Beit Sahour bought them from a local kibbutz in order to produce milk independent of Israeli industry. Israel later declared director Amer Shomali a “security risk” and barred him from attending the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in New York in 2015.
runtime: 75 min format: DCP
(Hany Abu-Assad, 2005) · Hany Abu-Assad’s electric debut gets into the head of Said, a young car mechanic in the West Bank, on the day he and his friend Khaled are recruited to carry out a suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv, Israel. An engrossing psychological account of the cruel logic of desperation with searing performances by Kais Nashif and Ali Suliman, this film was filmed on location and won 13 international awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.
runtime: 90 min format: 35mm
(Angelone, M. Stewart, P. Stewart, 2013) ·
An informative portrait of the lives of Palestinians within Israel’s borders defending their identity against rapacious capitalism and an ethnocratic political system. Artists and intellectuals from the ancient city of Akka explain how their society has been eroded by recent policies more concerned with increasing commercial tourism. Embodying themes of community advocacy, the film speaks to parallel issues of cultural identity and resistance here in Chicago as well.
This screening is now FREE thanks to to the Chicago Palestine Film Festival.
runtime: 75 min format: DCP
(Amber Fares, 2015) · Top gear under occupation. Meet the first all-female racing team in the Arab world in a new documentary that illustrates rapidly evolving gender norms in Palestine. The film follows the West Bank racing car drivers as they experience jubilation and frustration in their attempt to defy expectations and dismantle taboos. It is a testament to the transformative power of sport for Palestinians imprisoned and tyrannized by Israel’s illegal wall and checkpoints.
runtime: 78 min format: DCP
(Michel Khleifi, 1987) · Divisions erupt in a Palestinian village in Israel when a father agrees to host the local military governor at his son’s wedding in return for a relaxed curfew on the day of the festivities. Challenging two-dimensional representations of Palestinians and Israelis, Khleifi sensitively captures the psychological dynamics of human interactions unfolding in the charged setting of sensuous ritual in this winner of the International Critics Prize at Cannes. Note: While this was originally scheduled for Novemeber 1, it will now screen on November 22.
runtime: 113 min format: 35mm
(Annemarie Jacris, 2008) · In her first full-length feature film, Annemarie Jacir launches Brooklyn-born Palestinian refugee Soraya into an exploration of her family’s homeland, from invasive military checkpoints to smoking shisha on the hills of Ramallah. As Jacir juxtaposes landscapes of the past with jarring landscapes of the present, the story of this hot-blooded, determined protagonist moves beyond Soraya and the disturbing imagery she encounters.
runtime: 109 min format: Digital
(E. Burnat & G. Davidi, 2011) ·
Each time his camera is broken in action and has to be replaced, documentarian Emad Burnat explains more about the weekly protests carried out by Palestinians in the West Bank town of Bil’in and about life in the shadow of a developing Israeli settlement. Burnat gathers footage from over five years of struggle and resistance to capture the poignant, joyful, and intimate moments of his life in the occupied Palestinian territories.
This screening is now FREE thanks to the Chicago Palestine Film Festival.
runtime: 94 min format: Digital
(Michel Khleifi, 1987) · Divisions erupt in a Palestinian village in Israel when a father agrees to host the local military governor at his son's wedding in return for a relaxed curfew on the day of the festivities. Challenging two-dimensional representations of Palestinians and Israelis, Khleifi sensitively captures the psychological dynamics of human interactions unfolding in the charged setting of sensuous ritual in this winner of the International Critics Prize at Cannes.
runtime: 113 min format: 35mm
(Ella Suleiman, 2002) · Elia Suleiman’s caustic sense of humor reigns supreme in this black comedy that harks back to the deadpan expressivity of silent film legend Buster Keaton. The film paints a picture of neighborhood life in the West Bank where petty vendettas and simmering passions play out against the backdrop of arbitrary military control. Stylized with a healthy dose of surrealism, Divine Intervention was the first ever Palestinian film to win the Jury Prize at Cannes.
runtime: 93 min format: DVD